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
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
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
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 www.darksmile.co.uk.
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
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
*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