Footlights Presents: Dümpf

LOUIS SHANKAR reviews another ‘mixed’ night of comedy

ADC theatre Adrian Gray archie henderson Cambridge Theatre Footlights Mixed Bag Olivia Le Anderson sketch show

ADC Theatre, 11pm, 21st February, £7/£6

Footlights presents: Dümpf provided a night of sketches and songs revolving around, apparently, ‘issues’.

Compered by Mark and Colin from Cambridge’s fictitious ‘Get it Right Campaign’, the sketches did deal with important issues, from Peer Pressure to the confession of sins and even trying to answer that question we’ve all been asking: Can Jesus microwave a burrito?

The quality was mixed, as is always the case with a sketch show. A few sketches were genuinely hysterical, although an equal number fell fairly flat. Some of the most successful sketches were those with more surreal elements, such as the Queen’s love ballad or a road-safety marmoset. Razor sharp humour filled many of the songs, each of which was cleverly written and well rehearsed, (which definitely paid off). The occasional cutting satire shone through, although this was helped by the occasional sloppy pop-culture reference. A personal favourite was the pair of scenes revolving around electronic confession booths, which both contained intelligent Biblical references and proved that some of the best comedy needs only words, as the strongest humour came from an ephemeral voice rather than the facial reactions onstage. The surprise encore definitely paid off, getting one of the best reactions of the night. I shan’t spoil the surprise, but there’s a wonderful Alan Rickman impression.

The Footlights: hilarious (sometimes)

‘Mark and Colin’’s interludes were slick, with synchronisation and back-and-forth dialogue that was eager and hilarious. Adrian Gray and Archie Henderson convincingly developed two characters that seemed both annoying and fun; their attempts to really deal with ‘issues’ were less accomplished, not that this was necessarily a bad thing. The level of acting was generally high, with only a few breaks in composure throughout the entire night. Olivia Le Andersen proved the most diverse, managing to show off genuinely good acting as well as effective comic delivery. Stereotypically cartoonish accents were used, except for David Attenborough’s autobiography, where a few surprises were in store.

The main thing that seemed lacking was, unfortunately, real punchlines. Most of the sketches were funny throughout but drifted off toward the end. Often the audience was unsure whether or not to clap, with the only clue being the fading lights; those that did build to a climax could be fairly predictable. A few of the more effective jokes were overworked and given slightly too much time, causing them to lose their edge, and a couple were in slightly bad taste, in my opinion, perilously treading the line between hilarity and offence.

There were also rather too many technical difficulties that had to be endured. Music and lighting missing their cues and a projector that failed to start up did detract slightly from certain sketches but, thankfully, the cast were unaffected and swiftly recovered.

Dümpf provided an entertaining evening of comedy, with a few real gems. Given the chance to iron out the creases and retouch minor details, it could be truly hilarious. Why it’s called Dümpf is still beyond me though…