Dystopia: The Musical (A Sketch Show)

MARIELLA SALAZAR Is quite impressed by this world-ending combination of music and sketches.

Comedy Corpus Dystopia Mariella Salazar

Produced by Alex Cartlidge and featuring Footlights regulars, Milo Edwards, Archie Henderson, Jordan Mitchell, Theo Wethered and Guy Emanuel, the show promises to be a cocktail of disaster and laughter – as the title aptly suggests.

While the title appears to promise a witty take on dystopia and a world ‘descending into post-apocalyptic turmoil’, do not be misled by this. By drawing the audience into what appears to be an overarching and witty critique on whether society really is running smoothly, the play only really dabbles with this. This social critique can be found in certain sketches, such as in one where Winston from 1984 finds himself on the reality show ‘Big Brother’ or where an American online conspirator searches for hidden symbols in anything from David Cameron’s baby to the Illuminati.


While an audience member nearby complained that the play didn’t adequately address the concept of dystopia, and instead appeared “too random”. I simply replied, “That’s the point.” As Cambridge students, we are constantly expected to keep thinking and pondering the meaning of huge concepts such as ‘dystopia’. The play, however, reminds us to relax and laugh at the disintegration of society. It mocks not only the large problems we face such as impending nuclear war, as evidenced in the final sketch, but it also mocks the little things we do that show the ridiculous and catastrophic elements we encounter every day; from something as trivial as our ridiculous relationships we have with our mobile phones (Siri), to something as grand as neo-Colonisation and Western condescension towards tribal people. On that note, Dystopia promises to be a brilliantly written and witty comedy sketch.

While the comedy sketch is not much of a musical, apart from reprisals of the song ‘Society is Running Smoothly’, and a few piano solos by Ryan Rodrigues to set the tone between each sketch, the audience still got their money’s worth.  The acting, on the other hand, is most certainly hilarious, as one would expect from Footlights regulars. A particular favourite was a sketch mocking the French GCSE Oral Exam – the audience could not hold their laughter as Jordan Mitchell followed the increasingly ridiculous instructions of an omnipotent and omniscient voice.

While certain sketches were quite random, such as a man playing ‘Bop It’, only to be asked to ‘lick it’ then ‘suck it’, the comic elements of the sketch certainly shined through and left the audience with smiles on their faces.

Witty, creative and absolutely hilarious, Dystopia: The Musical is a sure-fire cure to revision blues.