The Last Footlights Smoker

ROSANNA SUPPA loved this emotional Footlights ending to the year.

ADC Ben Pope Footlights rosanna suppa

ADC Theatre, 11 PM, April 13th, £7/6.

‘It’s the last one, fuck it.’ Words spoken poetically by Alex MacKeith during last night’s smoker. This sentiment echoed through the night; not in an uncaring or ambivalent way, more the feeling of really pushing the boat out. For the year’s last smoker, it seems a special effort was made to and turn out an uncharacteristically long, but very well constructed, well-pitched and well delivered night of comedy.

The variety of acts was extensive, ranging from the physical comedy of Archie Henderson in his portrayal of the token gammy pigeon in a park; to the utterly surreal crisp-eating cat-fearing crack fuelled paranoia of James Bloor.  The sketches, monologues and songs were peppered with stand up from old and new faces, which kept the audience ticking over nicely as they jumped from sketch to skit to song.

The night opened with an energetic set from Jamie Fraser, immediately getting the audience laughing at the regaling of Jeremy Clarkson’s racist whimsies. The material was exactly the same as the previous week’s corpus smoker (but these comedians are students too, with exams, so perhaps we shan’t dwell on that fact) to those of us privy to both occasions the jokes were perhaps lost. However his spontaneity and quick wit meant his audience interactions were funny and fast, and something for everyone to laugh at.

The night proceeded with appearances from a lot of old faces.  Stand up from the brilliant Ben Pope, whose comedic style resembles a charming love child spawned of Jack Whitehall, Dylan Moran and Eddie Izzard, yielded almost constant laughs as he talked of his pulling falcon, and a horrific experience pigeon-watching. New performers, though few and far between, still delivered. The perils of awkward roommate confrontations were captured beautifully by a new duo, where the rambling speeches of milk theft and murder made for big laughs at each turn of one of the characters self-imposed monologue. Equally, the injection of musical comedy by Fernando Torres’ lament concerning his being sacked was another new face, and prompted spontaneous applause for the new performer.

This night was one of the most consistent smokers this year. Some sketches and solo acts understandably fell a little flatter than others, where perhaps the concept wasn’t as strong or perhaps needed cutting down. These occurrences were few and far between, however, and the energy of the next act and the laughs it undoubtedly prompted were more than enough to make up for it.

One fact remains, however. It was the last smoker in which some of our Universities most renowned and reputable comedians will perform on our stage. An emotional Matilda Wnek filled her stand up slot this time with a life lesson, telling the audience to open their mind to unfamiliar thought and regaling them tales of an embarrassing line on one night of her life that lead her to such an epiphany. It’s not comedy, granted. However the acknowledgement of the fact this performance was in many ways a farewell was arguably necessary. Her words resonated through the auditorium and along with Oliver Taylor’s confessions of shirt theft, left the audience in a different place than required of a comedy show. This was only partly detrimental to the atmosphere for the next few sketches, the brilliant character comedian Alex MacKeith along with Jamie Fraser, provided a hilarious portrayal of the Cohen brothers’ relationship away from the cameras and brought the atmosphere to where it should have been with the closing sketch.

This was a very, very good night of comedy. The old footlights committee will be sorely missed.