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Occasionally KOBAL will branch out from theatre into other media, if only to stretch their legs and brains. Here are a couple of such occasions:

“Dave & Jeff at Chorlton Arts Radio” by Stephen Michael Lowe
Added 5th October 2010

Click here to listen to the show.

A long long time ago (2008) the good folks over at Dark Smile Productions recorded a 15-minute “Dave & Jeff Versus...” script for their comedy horror anthology “Chief Surgeon Mal Practeeeece’s Theatre of Horror”. The result was a jaunty little adventure (which is still available from the Dark Smile website) that showed the promise in the further escapades of the characters, a sentiment echoed in the success of the indolent duo’s exploits at 2008’s 24:7 Theatre Festival. Of course I didn’t need an excuse to scribble more ridiculous tales about them, but it’s always nice to have one, and soon afterwards a full-length version of “...the Maniacal Cannibal Orderlies on the Missing Floor” was done. Now all that was left to do was find a chance to get it performed.

That chance came in April this year when I found a notice on the BBC Writersroom website that Chorlton Arts Radio were looking for fresh scripts to be performed as part of Chorlton Arts Festival, so I submitted the script and they accepted it – so far so good. Of course as soon as they’d opened the door I made myself at home and put my feet up by thinking about casting. The guys at Chorlton Arts had a core of talented performers but as I was so attached to the gang who did “Dave & Jeff at 24:7” I wanted them to reprise their roles if they could. As it turns out, due to scheduling conflicts the only member of the Kobal cast able to return was Paul Bowles, who ironically was the only person not returning to the same character (I often try to find a part for Bowles – partly out of awe of his abilities, partly out of pity – and this was no exception).

So with Paul in tow I set off on the morning of the broadcast to the shopping precinct in Chorlton where the radio team were based. It was a warm day and bus travel isn’t the ideal form of travel in any weather but we got there early, met the cast and got on with the task of rehearsing a tech-heavy script that was being performed live.

Before I knew it a pair headphones were being shoved into my hands and I was shown to a seat to talk about the play. I’m not really comfortable when it comes to interviews, so I stuck to my usual shtick of “silly plays for silly people”. Once the torture was over I sat back to breathe a sigh of relief, while the cast did an admirable job with the material and made the assembled crew and audience laugh loud and often. Then we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. It all seemed over far too soon, although the end product is here to prove that however brief, it was worthwhile.

So credit where it’s due, here are the individuals (in order of appearance) who helped bring the full-length version of “Dave & Jeff Versus the Maniacal Cannibal Orderlies on the Missing Floor” and deserve kudos by the bucket load:

Keiren King – Dave

Harry Dyer – Jeff

Chantal Amber Rose – Betty

Annie Wallace – Ms. Pearce

Jez Smith – Tom & Kevin

Paul Bowles – Jason & Guy

Jane Harrison – Producer/sound effects guru.

Thanks to all involved and to you, the audience, I hope you enjoy.

Dave & Jeff versus the Maniacal Cannibal Orderlies on the Missing Floor

Another story about our favourite morticians, “Dave & Jeff Versus the Maniacal Cannibal Orderlies from the Missing Floor”, will be recorded as part of Dark Smile Productions’ show “Chief Surgeon Mal Practeeeece’s Theatre of Horror” during summer 2008.

Flatline. Another operation ends in tragedy at Dupplethwaite General Hospital.

The corpse of the unfortunate patient wings its way down to the morgue, where nightshift morticians Dave and Jeff begrudgingly interrupt their slacking to take receipt of the body. However when the remains appear to be short one leg Dave loses his temper and the pair head up in the lift to see the orderly.

The ascent to the operating theatre meets with a problem though when the lift breaks down. Dave & Jeff force open the lift door and find themselves in the dark on a floor they’ve never been on. Judging by the decrepit squalour, blood and stench of rotting flesh surrounding them, neither has anyone else. With the lift still not working the only way out is to find the East wing stairwell, which is what they set off into the dark looking for.

Unfortunately they discover that a horde of maniacal orderlies hungry for blood lie between them and the exit, turning the night into a desperate fight for survival against the odds.

For more information on “Chief Surgeon Mal Practeeeece’s Theatre of
Horror” visit

Dave & Jeff Versus… TV script

Everyone's favourite lazy-arsed and less-than-diligent Delia Smith-loving pathologists are the main characters in a series of scripts being developed as the basis of a potential TV sitcom.

In October 2003 Messrs. Distin & Lowe wrote a pilot television script for the BBC “Two Timing” competition featuring Dave and Jeff called “…The Marauding Demonic Hordes From Beyond The Grave”. Although nothing came of the competition the writers were (and still are) enthusiastic about both the premise and the series of plot ideas that arose from the endeavour, and hope to pursue the venture in the near future.

First seen mistreating a cadaver in the Proteus Production Death In Small Doses, Dave Ash and Jeff Hicks have become recurring characters in KOBAL's plays - whether it's the characters' versatility, popularity, or just plain old lazy writing, we may never know - and this marks their move out into the wide world of the multimedia franchise. Watch this space...

48-Hour Film Challenge 2003

16th August 2003. Several members of KOBAL* participated in Guerrilla film making’s 48 Hour Film Challenge. The remit was to write, shoot and edit a five minute film in just over two days, and the members of KOBAL being who they are, decided that on their first film challenge that they would not do just one film, but two. How little they knew.

There were few rules to follow on the challenge, but teams had to use the title and genre they were given. As KOBAL (or “Fearless, Tactless, Clueless” as they were called for the project) were convinced that they could do two films, they received two titles and two genres: Chilled to the Bone – a thriller; and Soft to the Touch – a documentary.

Immediately ideas were forthcoming, and by the time the group had met up (some picked up the titles, some sat brainstorming by a PC) they had a clear idea for the thriller: A amnesiac man suffering from harrowing flashbacks and a crippling cold, runs from a crime scene only to be followed by a malevolent stranger.

Robbie Hardy in Chilled To The Bone

With time pressing on and a story for the second film proving more elusive the group decided to concentrate their efforts on Chilled to the Bone. The rest of the day was taken up with filming in Mark’s new (conveniently empty) house, and the Grange Arts Centre, while a second group went location scouting for the chase section. Most of the group eventually called the first day to a close at around 2am, with Mark and Stephen setting about the script for Soft to the Touch (featuring Stacy Brown and James Kilgour, pictured).

Stacy Brown and James Kilgour in Soft To The Touch

After a quick chat and a cup of strong coffee Mark and Stephen wrote the script: Television presenter Livingstone Shepherd (yes that same Shepherd) is impotent, and shares his problem with the world by presenting a documentary on the subject. And with what they thought was a funny script (which it is) done, so was the end of the first day.

The second day started approximately four hours after the last one ended and involved location filming for both films. The day was set aside for continuing Chilled to the Bone, which had been prioritised as the main project as James (who had played Livingstone in Dave & Jeff…) was unavailable till the evening.

While everyone was running about a disused factory complex in Oldham obtaining some stunning footage, Stephen sat down in front of a computer to edit the film together. As the footage was shot it was brought to Stephen to edit, and with only a small respite for food provided by Stephen’s parents (it was their PC that was hijacked) the two groups worked tirelessly late in the night.

Paul Bowles and Robbie Hardy in Chilled to the Bone
With time pressing on and the editing process being more complicated than anticipated due to a lack of computer memory and problems with the sound, it was decided that Chilled to the Bone would take precedence over the second project. With the filming done everyone went home as Stephen continued editing, all hoping that the film would be completed for the Monday deadline. At midday on the Monday Adam and John arrived at Stephen’s parents’ house to pick up the tape, but there was a problem – it wasn’t finished.

With the exception of bathroom breaks and a chat with his fellow team-mates the night before, Stephen had been editing non-stop for 28 hours and was rushing to put the final touches to the film. He’d been fighting against technical difficulties all night (which unfortunately impaired the quality of the playback) but finally finished the film just before 12.30, leaving Adam and John with the mad rush to get from Rochdale to Manchester before the 1pm deadline. Which they did, by reaching some vaguely illegal speeds on the various byways and highways of Greater Manchester they got the film to the AMC Cinema with a whole eight minutes to spare.

The whole experience was gruelling but immensely rewarding for everyone involved and, although “Fearless, Tactless, Clueless” didn’t win, it galvanised everyone’s belief that KOBAL could feasibly attempt the filming of a low budget film in the future. Who knows, they may well try it one day as well.

Adam Gent, James Kilgour and Hannah Kettleton in Soft to the Touch

*In alphabetical order: Paul Bowles, Stacy Brown, Mark Distin, Adam Gent, James Kilgour, Matt Lever, Stephen Michael Lowe, Danny McKenzie, Andy Meyers, Rob Starksfield, Daniel Stewart, John Wildridge with sometime collaborators Robbie Hardy and Hannah Kettleton

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All images and text © 2006 The KOBAL Theatre Company