Review: Cheese Badger and Other Stories

FLO CARR thinks it’s worth catching the last night of this ridiculous sketch show.

Cheese Badger Flo Carr Footlights Frank Paul Tom Ovens ukulele

Saturday 23rd, 5.00, ADC, £5-6.


At first glance, this show looks like it is going to be just another amateur comedy sketch show relying totally on the fact that it is just SO RANDOM. The comedy world, with our own Footlights often at the forefront of this, is full of shows which present a freak show of characters and totally unbelievable situations and then expect you to laugh raucously at how inventive they are – the characters, normally geeks who wander about the stage being weird and doing unpredictable things, maybe shouting out strings of unconnected words.

The flyer for Cheese-Badger and other stories (which began with the words “Scrumptious! Thundering! Walrus! Princely!”) did not inspire me with confidence that this show would be any different. I prepared myself for an hour of trying to laugh loudly in support of student comedy.  The show began with two self-described “lanky bespectacled men in black tie” singing about the life of Sir Henry Cheese Badger. One was playing a ukulele, an instrument that looks even more hilarious when played by a large and very hairy guy and accompanied by a lot of head banging. The show continued with a variety of sketches and songs and luckily there was no shortage of laughs.

The audience loved it. I don’t want to spoil it by giving away too much, because it is on for another night, and you still have time to give this show a look. Frank Paul and Tom Ovens played a whole host of characters with enthusiasm and commitment. My favourites were a literal interpretation of the song Twelve Days of Christmas and a pair of football commentators, one of whom was unable to talk about football without talking about building conservatories: “stop confusing scoring goals with building conservatories!” It sounds a bit ridiculous but I found I was having a good old chuckle. Tom Ovens sang some hilarious songs with an acoustic guitar, including one about having a dream that the world was made out of bread and it was raining croissants. Frank Paul was most funny when in a blonde wig, along with his ample beard, particularly in the sketch when he was playing Sir Henry Cheese Badger’s mother.

As always in the ADC, I did get the feeling that half of the audience were made up of friends and family, and that the show would have been a lot funnier if I had known the two guys in it. The Sir Henry Cheese Badger sketches were probably the least funny, which was a shame as there were most of them, and some of the sketches would have worked in an improv show, but lacked a bit of direction in a scripted comedy show. At times Frank Paul seemed a bit too aware of the fact that he was trying to make people laugh.

But the good bits make up for the slightly less inspired moments, and the show is only an hour long so it is definitely worth it. It is on at the earlier time at 5pm this afternoon and on a day of no lectures or supervisions (for all but the pitied Natsci’s), what else is there to do than head to the ADC and watch a couple of lanky bespectacled men prance about the stage and try to make you laugh?