Mistakes and technical problems leave EMMA HATRED still none-the-wiser as to what G.G.T.H. stands for.

ADC Ali Lewis Comedy Footlights funny ggth Jonny Lennard Phil Wang Pierre Novellie

ADC Theatre, February 15th-18th, 11pm, £4

Directed by Phil Wang

[rating: 3/5]

The enigmatically-named G.G.T.H. promised ‘sharp, satirical comedy’ and delivered a hour of something resembling that. The night began well and ended perfectly but vacillated wildly between ‘great’ and ‘mediocre’ during the rest. Between mistakes, mumbles and missteps, the performance had a pleasant but amateurish feel – entertaining, but disappointing coming from some of Cambridge’s most esteemed comics.

Phil Wang (also directing) provided consistent laughs. Evidently adept at acting, sketches were enriched by his aloof-yet-confident stage presence. He gave an unassuming performance and his absences from the stage left the show feeling less well put-together. He did fluff a line once or twice, but Wang was also (quite rightly) responsible for the biggest laugh of the night.

The stand-out man of the evening was Ali Lewis. He was to be found in every one of the most memorable sketches and presented a refreshing variety of performances, deftly transitioning between dropping pun bombs one moment and showcasing vibrant character acting. His comedy accents were no less incompetent than his co-stars’, but he prevailed where others foundered – barely a corpse or a stutter interrupted his scenes. Lewis’s tour de force, however, was his physical comedy. He couldn’t help but dominate the stage and enrapture the audience across two outstanding and hilarious displays of corporeal comeliness.

Pierre Novellie, perhaps the most comfortable having a stage to himself, at times seemed more concerned with keeping himself amused than doing justice to the writing. To his credit as a comedian, pulling faces and falling back on slapstick elicited easy laughter from at least two-thirds of the audience, but his overacting left the rest – perhaps the more sober portion – bemused and silent. His talent for ad-libbing helped mitigate several technical hiccups, but ultimately Novellie offered only a lukewarm performance of some pretty hot comedy. Yes, the man is funny but I’m not sure he can act it.

The greatest blight on the show was a series of technical blunders. Mismatched and out-of-sync sound and slides and completely malfunctioning AV elements punctuated the evening and made the performance feel under-rehearsed. One hopes the errors will be rectified by tonight’s performance, and no doubt the show would be better for that. However, being promised a polished comedy showcase and getting a dress-rehearsal was ultimately disappointing and excruciating to witness.

G.G.T.H. was not, by any measure, a poor show. Excellent writing by Jonny Lennard, Lewis and Novellie provided definite moments of side-splitting genius, and nothing whatsoever was unfunny. Its primary faults lie in execution, not content, and they do say practice makes perfect. So, whilst I don’t recommend storming the box office, if your abs could do with a light workout or you’ve a touch of the winter blues, G.G.T.H.’s comedy expedition might just be what you need.