Life After Footlights

Or, an essay on the art of flagrant self-promotion by ADAM LAWRENCE and BEN ROWSE.

Adam Lawrence Footlights king lear no one man no cry Pembroke The Vagina Monologues

Hi, we’re Ben and Adam, two writers who left Cambridge last year. When The Tab first called asking us to write an article about life after Cambridge, we thought we’d better buy some pens. So we put down our copy of Varsity and looked at each other. We’d made it. Then, after reviewing The Tab’s format, we sold the pens and bought a laptop. We were on our way.

We’ve always loved The Tab: it’s the journalism we grew up on. Who couldn’t love their uncontroversially great ‘Tab Totty’ feature? And The Tab’s power in Cambridge is well-known. Who could forget when, just two weeks after the launch of ‘Fit Bursar’, Robinson hired a young Pamela Anderson in the very same role. Coincidence? I think not. She remains there to this day, and, thanks to her contacts in the Bahraini rare mineral industry, Robinson now has a burgeoning space programme. But most of all we love The Tab’s tongue-in-cheek humour: especially the time they convinced us all that tuition fees had been trebled. The day that happens will be the day we write some half-decent, policy-bashing satire!

We’ve always tried to be bold in our theatrical projects and The Tab has always been incredibly supportive. In first year we put on ‘King Lear’ as a silent mime in complete darkness, and The Tab’s glowing review said: “This is [the] shit”, and “It was borderline [un-]unwatchable”. In second year we staged ‘The Vagina Monologues’ in a maternity ward, and The Tab’s review was full of praise: “The weather outside was [great!] and the play was no different. By the time I dried off I [great!]”.

For our final show we staged a homoerotic dramatisation of Mandela’s ‘Walk to Freedom’, but for maximum impact we locked the audience out of the theatre for the whole show. Needless to say we got our best response yet. The Tab was rapturous: “So good it sounds like I’m making it up”. The highlight came in The Tab’s end-of-year review, when they called us amazing “and” brilliant. Their word, not ours.

Since leaving Cambridge, we’ve been working on a one man show called ‘No One Man, No Cry’. Initially we tried to write an innovative new show about a Danish prince on the verge of succession and bent on revenge. But our hearts sank when we saw ‘The Lion King’. Once again, Disney had got there before us. It was ‘Aristodogs’ all over again.

Then it hit us. We’d drifted too far from the ethos of The Tab. So we made some script-changes to stay true to our ‘Tab’-y roots. So, instead of a courtroom scene, we had a rugby match. In Cindies. Instead of a murder scene, we had a rugby match. In an orgy. And instead of it all being about rich old ponces, we set it in John’s.

You’re probably wondering how all this can be fitted into a one-man play. In advance of our performances of ‘No One Man, No Cry’ this week, we’ve done our friends at The Tab a favour, and written their review of our show for them. Hopefully it will help shed some light on the issue.


‘No One Man, No Cry’? More like ‘No WOMAN, No Cry’!

Firstly, I should confess my issues with these writers’ flagrant attempts at publicity. Having said that, the show was only £5, so I couldn’t really complain. It started on time (7pm), and at the right place (Pembroke New Cellars). I took my seat next to the Robinson bursar, who was entertaining some Bahraini clients. Needless to say, I was in prestigious company.

The show itself was a huge departure from what I managed to catch through the window of their third-year show. I particularly enjoyed the rugby match halfway through the show, and was amazed at how one man could stage an entire rugby match (including substitutes). Let’s just say, he needed a lot of sellotape.

The sex-element was overplayed in places, especially in the first and second halves, and became awkward when the sellotape began to give way. And during the robotic crucifixion scene, I couldn’t help but find some of the acting a little overplayed.

An underlying theme of this play seemed to be ‘orgy’, and I think it was subtly portrayed throughout. Overall, a good show, but a bit weird that he did it all via Skype. Disappointing, because the sellotape would have seemed that much closer in the flesh.


So come and see ‘No One Man, No Cry’, February 5th to 9th at Pembroke New Cellars, 7pm. Usually we’re not fans of flagrant self-publicity. And our advice to people looking to write after leaving Cambridge? Remember to stick to your roots.