Tag Archives: comedy


Monday 12 March 2018

After its successful sell-out run last September, Jeff Brown’s one-man play ‘Cornered’ is set to return to The Peacock in Sunderland in April this year.

The show, which starred Steve Arnott as ex-SAFC player David Corner, featured in the North-East Theatre Guide’s Best of 2017 list, in their ‘Proud to be in the North-East’ award.  Arnott will be returning to the role again this year, to tell the story of Dave Corner’s fateful day in 1985 playing against Norwich in the Milk Cup final at Wembley, and what happened to him afterwards.

As it proved so popular last year – and with many people unable to get tickets first time round – Cranked Anvil are delighted to be reviving this show, this time with a resident run at The Peacock.  Paul Scott, general manager of the venue, said: “The Peacock is quickly turning into an iconic and sought-after entertainment venue here in Sunderland, in the centre of the MAC Quarter.  We’re delighted to have Cranked Anvil back with us again with this brilliant play based around SAFC.”  The night’s entertainment also includes a Q&A with Jeff Brown and David Corner, a stand-up set from Sunderland comic David Callaghan, as well as a pie & pea supper served up by The Peacock’s chefs.  All for just £20 a ticket.

Tickets will sell fast, so head to our page to book.  Don’t miss out.

The show runs Thursday 12th – Saturday 14th April 2018.  Doors 7pm, show starts 7.45pm.

New Year – New projects!

Sun 8 Jan 2017

If you’re a follower of Cranked Anvil – or just a regular visitor to this site – you’ll know that we’re not one to rest on our laurels.  We’ve already got a couple of big projects lined up for 2017 which we’re very excited about.

One of them we’re keeping under our hat for a little while longer – but we’ll be letting you know about it soon, and we’re sure it’ll get you excited if you’re a supporter of Sunderland AFC, or the Sunderland City of Culture bid, or just great theatre. (Or all three!)

But next on our production board is a very exciting project for us.  In February, March, and April, we’ll be performing live versions of our radio comedy show Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour.  They’ll be recorded in front of a live studio audience, then edited for broadcast on Beach Hut Radio later in the year.  We’ve got three fantastic shows lined up, with brilliant material by our team of writers, performed by a stellar cast of actors and comedians. You can read more here.

But we need your help!

With budgets extremely tight, and funding virtually impossible to achieve, we’re trying to raise some of the capital needed to produce the three shows with the help of our supporters, fans, and friends.  We have a Crowdfunder page set up, where people can donate as much as they can to help bring this exciting new project to life.  Now, we realise Christmas and New Year have just gone by and people are reeling from the excesses of that and have just gone back to work, but we really do appreciate every donation possible.  We’ve already had some in from our supporters, and now we need to build on that. So please have a look at our Crowdfunder page, read more about the project, and go ahead and click that ‘Fund It’ button.

We have huge ambitions for this show.  We’re already planning to produce more radio shows, more studio audience shows, as well as a stage version for the Edinburgh Fringe.  As well as that, we’re currently developing ideas with a brilliant producer who works at Metro Radio and Diagonal View.  So there are big plans ahead for Happy Hour; here’s your chance to help it hit the ground running.  We never forget our grassroots supporters!

Our Halloween LIVE special!

Friday 30 October 2015

Just in time for Halloween tomorrow, we’ve got a treat for all you spook fans!

If you didn’t get a chance to hear our radio show, Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour, live on Wednesday night, now’s your chance to listen back to the best bits.  We’ve just put it up on line, and we’re very proud of the whole show.

And why? I hear you ask…  Well, the whole thing was broadcast completely live – even the sketches.  Where as usually in the Happy Hour shows half of the material is pre-recorded, this week we decided to scare even ourselves by doing the whole thing completely live and pretty much unrehearsed!  It’s still got all the crazy ingredients of a Happy Hour show – it just sounds even more rough around the edges than usual.  But still, we think, very funny, and well worth a listen.

We have to say a big thanks to the writers who came up with specially written sketches so qucikly – Tim Gambrell, Michael Hughes, Neil Tolfree, and John Wardle.  And a special thanks to our actor-in-chief and head honcho voice man, David Foster, for coming into the studio live with us and performing in all the sketches.  (As well as playing along with the game, Count-Dracula-Down!)

Listen here, enjoy – and please share!

New Radio Show Coming Soon!

Spark logoMonday 20th July 2015

We’re delighted to confirm that, alongside Jay Sykes Media as our producer, from next week Cranked Anvil will be putting together a weekly radio show and podcast.

The first show airs on local radio station Spark Sunderland, at 3pm on Tuesday 28th July 2015.  If you don’t live in Sunderland then don’t worry, you can listen to it live across the internet at sparksunderland.com.

Presented by Paul Dunn and Vanessa Karon, it’s going by the title ‘Paul and Nessa’s Happy Hour’ and, as well as featuring some great music, it will be mainly comedy based, with lively chat and banter, songs, and sketches.

And we’re looking for comedy writers to contribute to the program.  We’ve already had some brilliant sketches submitted by writers from across the country, including Tim Gambrell And Matt Watson, which you will be able to hear in the show and podcast over the coming weeks.  But we’re keen to receive more!

If you’re a comedy writer and you’d like to hear your sketches performed on radio and around the world online, then have a look at the details here, and send us some of your stuff.

In the meantime, tune in next Tuesday, and help us to launch the first ever Happy Hour!

If you fail to plan, plan to fail…

12 JAN 2013.  Well, we certainly can’t be accused of failing to plan.

Already, the REP has a list of plans for 2013, as we aim to really stamp our presence in the city of Sunderland and beyond.  Our opening production for this year – the first in a series of rehearsed readings – is already well underway, and will take place on 31st January.  Go here for more details.

Then in February we are planning a fantastic event for Valentine’s Night, which will take place in a popular restaurant in the heart of the city.  We’re currently finalising the details for that, so keep an eye on this site for more details as they emerge.

Comedy is high on the list of priorities for us here at the REP.  As well as continuing to write and produce our unique style of radio comedies, we will be putting on a comedy sketch night (heavily influenced by Python, no doubt!) some time towards the end of February/early March. We are hoping to work closely with a local charity, and all the profits from the night will be donated to them.

Continuing with the comedy theme, our good friends at Mackem Laugh have worked like trojans over the past year to build up an incredibly successful comedy club here in the city.  In July this year they will be hosting Sunderland’s first ever Comedy Fringe Festival, and Sunderland REP plan to be a part of that fantastic event.  We will certainly be mounting a production to put on as part of the festival (probably a ramshackle bunch of half-written sketches and badly composed songs with rude lyrics!), as well as helping where we can on the organising side of things.

Emily Davison
Emily Davison
Victoria Hall Memorial, Mowbray Park
Victoria Hall Memorial, Mowbray Park

We also plan to stage some serious plays this year.  In June, we’ll be presenting a new piece about Emily Davison, the suffragette who was killed after stepping out in front of King George’s horse as it ran the Derby, and November will see us mount a new work surrounding the subject of the JFK assassination.  We’ve also had the recent privilege of reading a fantastic script by local writer and director Kayleigh Oliver about the 1883 Victoria Hall disaster, and we’re hoping to work with her this year to produce it somewhere in the city.

So plenty of plans already – and that’s only the ones we’ve started working on…

We’re very excited to have had a meeting yesterday with Chris Alexander, the head of events at Sunderland City Council.  Chris is a highly driven man, a real advocate for Sunderland and passionate about its potential.  2013 sees Sunderland celebrating 21 years as a city, and there will be a whole host of exciting, innovative and truly inspirational events happening citywide throughout the year.  Take a look at the Sunderland Live listings page – and keep checking it because it will no doubt be added to.

It was an interesting meeting, where much was discussed and agreed upon. We here at the REP liked the sound of a lot of what Chris told us (you may already have seen on his twitter feed that there’s a possibility of a screening of the ’73 FA Cup – and that’s just for starters!) and we’re looking forward to being involved in what we think will prove to be a special year of celebrations!

2012 may have been Britain’s year of celebration.  2013 should most certainly be Sunderland’s Year – and the REP plan to be right there in the midst of the celebrations.

Online Audio

19 DEC 2012.  Regular fans and followers of the Rep will know that we’ve been involved in producing radio drama over the past couple of months.

Our first production, Stick To The Act, was broadcast in two parts earlier this year.  Based on Martyn Grahame’s 2011 stage play Double Act, a show which was showered with praise at the 2011 Fringe. Our radio version focuses on the intertwined personal and professional lives of fictional comedians Arthur Douglas and Eddie Adams and their career from the forging of the partnership back in the day to the final parting. Chock full of quick fire gags, songs and drama it will take you back to the golden days of the comedy double act.

Stick To The Act
Sean Hanlon & Martyn Grahame

Both parts are now available on our Mixcloud page – feel free to listen and share it with your friends and colleagues.

Interviewer JAMES BARTON
Radio Announcer PAUL DUNN
All other parts played by members of the company.

Engineered and edited by ISABELLE OW
Produced and directed by PAUL DUNN