Footlights and Friends

AMI JONES watches Leeds and Bristol brutally out-funny Cambridge.

Annie McGrath Bristol Bristol Revunions Footlights footlights and friends henry perryment Leeds Leeds Tealights Smoker will barwick

ADC Theatre, 24th January only, 11pm, £6-7

Giving a star rating to a smoker is silly at the best of times, and is rendered absolutely impossible when you have three universities represented, with a massive range in standard. And no, I wasn’t implicitly implying that the Cambridge Footlights were superior, because they’re getting:

Cambridge Footlights

At best lazy, and at worst coming off as simply arrogant, the Footlights were thoroughly put to shame last night. The worst culprit of this was possibly an overly long and simply unfunny “parody” of War Horse, which had the sophistication of something knocked together in the course of a drama lesson. Even more excruciating was the stupidly blatant theft – the Rowan Atkinson invisible piano sketch was simply done with an inexplicable Rubik’s cube thrown in and the Fry and Laurie shoe shop/brothel sketch made an appearance, albeit with the time taken to replace it with a bakery/crack den.

Interestingly, in spite of the fact that the Footlights literally had double the number of performers in contrast to the other two groups, they were also the only group without a single woman amongst them. This was made even more obvious when men were required to fill in female roles repeatedly – and clearly out of sheer necessity, not for any sort of comedy value. Worst of all, they simply didn’t seem to care – delivery was slack and everything was obviously under-rehearsed. I know these guys are under pressure to pull things out of the bag on a weekly basis, but really?

Leeds Tealights

As if conspiring to really humiliate Cambridge, the Tealights not only completely stole the show, but somehow managed to do many things Cambridge had tried to do, but perfectly. Annie McGrath performed a one-woman  piss-take of Home Alone, done with little more than beautiful timing and spot-on delivery.

Henry Perryment then played a woman but – get this – in an actually funny way. The highlight of the evening, however, was by far the “dreamcatcher” sketch, performed by Will Barwick. It is a credit to the immaculate delivery of this group that I simply can’t describe why this sketch was funny – it just was.

Bristol Revunions

Multiple Google searches have left me still unable to determine the identities of the performers, which is a shame, because I would have liked to credit the most perfectly comedic middle finger I’ve seen in a long time.

I also have nothing but sheer love for a sketch which began “I will not bother you with the how and why, but snails have taken over the world” – again, you just had to be there. A few sketches were bit meh, and the descending-into-random-silly-dancing gag was used one too many times, but they are forgiven for having the best outfits of the night.