Wry Rye

Our new festival of comedy was brought to a close on Tuesday March 21. It was truly a fantastic weekend of events from theatre companies at the top of their game.

We kicked off with some time in the EUROHOUSE with Nasi Voutsas and Bertrand Lesca, co-produced by FellSwoop Theatre, on March 17 at 7:30pm. This quirky performance about life in the EU was recently listed in the Guardian’s “Five of the best in theatre” list. A very cleverly devised piece of theatre, it was both darkly comical and extremely poignant.

The cast of Starship Osiris

This was followed on  March 19 when The Starship Osiris, a new comedy from Willis and Vere landed in town. The show sees an arrogant director George Vere attempting to bring audiences his sci-fi “masterpiece” in spite of a cast that despise him and with a very low budget. This performance featured a lot of audience participation and kept us on our toes. As the show spiralled out of control more and more people from the audience were brought in by George to replace his diminishing cast who now longer wished to take part. New cast members included Rye Arts Festival’s own Andy and Niki Stuart. This was described by The Chocolate Ocelot as “hilarious”

Then, to end the long weekend The Pretend Men brought their multi award winning show Police Cops to town on March 21 following sell-out performances at Cape Town Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival. These guys are an incredibly talented trio with a particular gift for improvisation, playing a variety of different characters in the show from drug lords to cops to cats. Straight-laced rookie cop Jimmy Johnson is out to avenge his brother’s death with the help of retired cop Harrison. The pair begin digging and soon unearth the secrets that the case holds. Some uniquely improvised moments were the cherry on top of the other perfectly polished, timed and choreographed scripted moments within this cinematic joyride.

Police Cops at the Creative Centre theatre

I am very proud and happy with how the events were received; I feel we achieved what we set out to do. The concept of this series of events is to bring new theatre companies into the area that have amassed a plethora of awards at international festivals over the past couple of years and, of course, continue to celebrate the area’s rich comic history and raise profile and awareness of our venue at Rye Creative Centre.

I have had very positive feedback from the theatre companies who have all expressed interest in bringing their new shows currently in works to us again next year. It would be great if we could use this series of events to kick-start an annual festival which would be a vibrant and very different addition to the Rye suite of festivals, all the while continuing to push both the charm and creativity of the town bringing new talent and audiences to Rye.

I am very grateful to have had the support and backing of the Rye Arts Festival who allowed us use of their online box office for ticket sales,to Niki and Andy Stuart and Mike Eve for their continued support of events at Rye Creative Centre.

Coming up for the music lovers we have the second in Alisdair Kitchen’s “Rye’Citals” classical concert series on March 26 at 3.30pm. Tickets are£10 on the door, or for more information please visit: www.euphoniastudio.com


Photos: Tony Ham,

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  1. This was a fabulous series of events! Hats off to Sam for coming up with the idea of a comedy festival for Rye – which with its rich heritage of comedians living in and around the town including Spike Milligan, Rod Hull (and Emu!), Paul Merton and Vic Reeves is surely a fitting home for such an event – and then going ahead and getting it done with zero financial contribution from public bodies!

    The fact that the initial Wry Rye proved such a success, on which hopefully it can build next year, is testimony to Sam’s vision and drive!

    I m sure I am not alone in saying a big thank you to Sam for his hard work!


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