a sensational new musical by Stephen Kingsbury, Ben Sleep & Adrian Sarple
"There's nothing funny now.
The only joke is standing here before you."
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, silent movie comedian, double-act partner of both Buster Keaton and Mabel Normand, adored by millions, was at the top of his game in the summer of 1921. An unprecedented $3,000,000 contract with Paramount Studios was his, and life was good. In the background though dark forces were at work, and Arbuckle, being wealthy, naive and absolutely in the limelight, was a perfect target. These forces cruelly coalesced in the form of a beautiful young actress, a ruthless newspaper mogul, and a couple of cheap racketeers.
The controversial events and devastating aftermath of his prohibition booze-fuelled party at The St Francis Hotel, San Francisco in the September of that year would bring Arbuckle to his knees, turning the nation's treasured funny man into a toxic figure of ridicule and despair, his reputation trashed, his fortune gone, his career in ruins.
Our musical, 'Arbuckle', tells the story of the phenomenal rise and catastrophic fall of this much maligned, almost forgotten and tragically misunderstood genius of physical screen comedy.