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Comedy duo Stokes & Summers careering towards stardom

Stokes & Summers, a successful comic pairing comprising Kate Stokes and Claudia Summers, are to bring Careering, their new workplace comedy, to Cambridge.

The show draws on the duo’s own experiences and celebrates and satirises the quirks of the modern workplace. It has been taken on tour after Kate and Claudia – who met while studying drama at Bristol University 10 years ago – impressed audiences with the largely sketch-based show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022, with FringeBiscuit hailing it as “brilliantly absurd and hilarious”.

Stokes & Summers. Picture: Beth Clarence
Stokes & Summers. Picture: Beth Clarence

Speaking to the Cambridge Independent from her home in South Wales, Kate, who is originally from Portsmouth, says that the pair have done two gigs so far, beginning with the Leicester Comedy Festival.

“It was a fun festival to be part of because there’s lots going on. In the second show, we had a few familiar faces because we’ve got friends in London, and it’s always nice to see familiar faces, but we’re looking forward to going to places like Cambridge where neither of us have performed before. It will be nice to meet new audiences.”

Kate and London-based Claudia are fans of fellow double act French & Saunders, as well as the sitcom Gavin and Stacey, and would love to branch out more into TV. Careering is “a hybrid between a comedy play and a sketch show, in that it’s got some narratives that go throughout the whole show but then also some standalone sketches”, explains Kate.

She adds: “They’re all related because they all take place in this one big multi-company building called Hades House. Both of us play lots of different characters around the building, sort of going from the very recognisable and relatable more ‘normal’ characters to then also quite zany and eccentric characters.

“We just tell different stories that relate to themes about the modern workplace really, in terms of dealing with imposter syndrome. The main narrative is about the struggle to juggle following your dreams or earning a living.

“It’s also just silly, making fun of silly things that happen in the workplace, especially at the moment with things like disastrous Zoom meetings and hot-desking, where you have to sit next to a very annoying person when you’re trying to focus on your work.”

Stokes & Summers. Picture: Beth Clarence
Stokes & Summers. Picture: Beth Clarence

Stokes & Summers earned rave reviews for their first touring show, A Really Really Big Modern Telly, at festivals including the Brighton Fringe. Critics hailed them as “highly talented actor-comedians” (Fringe Review) and “definitely ones to watch” (Funny Women), and praised their “abundance of comedy talent” (Broadway Baby).

Since 2020, the pair’s audio sketches have regularly featured on BBC Radio Bristol and they were recently featured on BBC Radio 4 Extra. During the lockdowns, they built a strong social media presence, with their 60-second film parodies gaining more than 15 million views and earning them 80,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram.

In 2021, Kate and Claudia were shortlisted for the Evening Standard TikTok Breakout Star award and the Funny Women Content Creator award, and last year they collaborated with Comic Relief on a parody of Notting Hill, called Not-Notting Hill, which concluded with an appearance by the film’s writer, Richard Curtis.

Stokes & Summers. Picture: Beth Clarence
Stokes & Summers. Picture: Beth Clarence

Stokes & Summers will be bringing Careering to Cambridge Junction (J3) on Friday, April 14. Tickets, priced £14.50 (standard) and £12.50 (concessions), are available from junction.co.uk. For more on the duo, go to stokesandsummers.wordpress.com.

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