ABI BENNETT is impressed with this latest Smoker, for the most part at least.
ADC Theatre, Tuesday 15th February, 11pm, £6-7
I struggled to keep my eyes open from the onslaught of tiredness. Thankfully, yesterday’s smoker was unfailingly funny.
Despite a preponderance of sketches, it still felt varied, with a nice mix of the usual Footlights humour and some more bizarre fare. Even the one stand-up of the night, Leo Davidson, didn’t do the usual faux-awkward stand-up routine we normally see in Cambridge. Instead, refreshingly, he read a list of possible comic ukulele songs, including beauties such as Why Don’t We Just Pay The Fees? to be performed at King’s, and Why Don’t You Girls Get A Job? for a Lucy Cavendish audience.
Despite having heard Jonny Lennard’s fairytale sketch before, it had me in stitches, and most of the audience too. Equally good was Ben Ashenden’s car advert, in which he used the same awkward physical movements and voice as in the Bird Man sketch for the tour show this summer. It made me cry with laughter when I saw it in Edinburgh and with laughter and exhaustion here. Whilst arguably too long, Ashenden has enough stage presence for this not to be an issue.
Certainly, a few, however, were in need of ruthless pruning. Adam Lawrence and Abi Tedder’s sketch based on This Morning would have sounded great on paper, but it somehow didn’t transfer to the stage. What’s more, it was far too long.
Others started brilliantly, but trailed off to finish with a whimper. Mark Fiddaman and Emma Sidi as a pervy old man and his carer complaining about sexual harassment for example fell somewhat flat once the conceit emerged – Fiddaman was actually Hugh Heffner, now a ‘Playman’ as opposed to a Playboy. That doesn’t even sound good on paper.
Overall, an excellent smoker, as far as smokers go. It is, after all, a mixed bag by nature.