Footlights Smoker

Guns, Shreddies and a lady's front evening of fun with the Footlights for HANNAH POTTS.

ADC Theatre, Tuesday 1st February, 11pm, £6-7

[Rating: 4/5]

Having just rushed over from Much Ado About Nothing and hardly at my most alert, I was slightly worried about how entertaining I would find this Footlights Smoker. However, incessant hilarity kept me wide awake. The stand-out was Abi Tedder, a mildly terrifying woman who declared herself offended at being described as “hot – in a niche way- like adult nappies and people turned on by balloons.”  The somewhat bizarre nature of her comedy (interspersed with jokes about her “Pink Floyd”) would certainly put her in the ‘niche’ category, but that didn’t stop her from raising many a laugh from the audience.

In general I enjoyed the sketches more although Giulia Galastro (fresh off the stage from her role as Beatrice in Much Ado not an hour before – an impressive switch-over) was one of the highlights of the show, despite her introducing herself with the perplexing opening gambit: “I am blessed with a super-abundance of pubic hair!” What turned out to be an hilarious mock product-pitch drew resounding laughter: “Say it with a merkin – for a night he’ll never forget…” Other choice moments included an Antiques Roadshow sketch, in which even ‘Mr Antiques Roadshow‘ himself could barely contain his laughter onstage, although this was well disguised as ‘tears’ for the antique lady being sold by her grandson.

The best was definitely saved till last – my favourite sketch of the evening (again including Ms Galastro) centered on three old ladies knitting Shreddies (one accidentally producing a cornflake – a common occurrence of course). There was a very well-timed and amusing performance from the knitters’ cruel boss, although a few crude puns on his part left me unimpressed at first.When the opportunity for deliberately mistaking a woman’s request for “hot pea” soup arose though, expecting more of the same easy puns I was surprised to find myself laughing as she spat the soup out in disgust and he, revelling in his ‘cunning’ triumph, declared: “Yes – broccoli – the worst of the soups!” The funniest moment was watching three old women point guns at the head of their oppressor; asking how they got these guns, he received the obvious reply: “We knitted them, you grand son-of-a-bitch!”

Verdict: the Smoker lived up to its sold-out status. More of the same next time please.

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