Review: S.C.O.F.F.! – The Comeback Tour

WILL POPPLEWELL and ZAK GHAZI-TORBATI are impressed with a comedy that will only grow stronger as the run progresses.

ADC ADC theatre Cambridge review S.C.O.F.F.! SCOFF Tab Theatre

S.C.O.F.F.! is totally original, utterly hilarious, and a real triumph.

Cambridge has a lot of comedy. Or rather, it has a lot of people who think they are comedians – and a never-ending stream of half-baked sketch shows. Never before though, have we seen a show like S.C.O.F.F.!

After being treated to a joyous opening playlist of ex ‘pop wannabes’, the show got off to an unusually charismatic start for Cambridge comedy. The initial introduction was far from awkward, and we were quickly eased into the show with several cutting sketches such as ‘bread’, ‘titanic’, and ‘drowning’.

If only they really were going on tour - Sheffield wouldn't know what hit it.

If only they really were going on tour – Sheffield wouldn’t know what hit it.

The premise of the show is genius, and exploited marvellously by the writers. As mentioned, whilst several of the sketches are individually funny, it is when the conventional sketch show humour crumbles that the true hilarity of S.C.O.F.F.! shines through, brilliantly brought to its climax in the UKIP sketch.

However, what with the originality of the premise, there were bound to be hiccups and misjudged elements. Some of the timing in sketches continued to drag long after the last drop of awkward humour had been wrung out, and it was unclear whether some poor jokes were meant as part of self-contained sketches or the overarching storyline.

Each of the four performers were excellent. We could write extensively about their respective strengths, but their greatest triumph was not their individual comedy, but rather how the four played off each other and worked as a group. It is rare to see such unselfish acting, particularly in comedy, and all four actors should be very proud.

Four talented comedians, who work together superbly.

Four talented comedians, who work together superbly.

This said, Eleanor Colville was at her prime, and that is saying something. From her characterisation of Olive to her scene-stealing performance in the drowning sketch, Colville nailed it. She deserves particular credit for taking such an outlandish character as Olive and integrating her so smoothly into the group as a whole.

Along with some misjudgements with certain scenes, the show itself was too long. At no point were we itching to leave or move on, but the top-class humour couldn’t be sustained throughout some overlong scenes, and the overall length began to drag at times.

S.C.O.F.F.! was great, but it will get even better.

S.C.O.F.F.! was great, but it will get even better.

Finally, we have to mention the use of video. Unlike so many sketch shows which attempt to shake things up with patchy tech elements, the S.C.O.F.F.! video was high-quality, slick, and simply hilarious. Special mention must go to Aoife Kennan, who had our neighbour in fits of hysterics with her vapid impressions.

To quote the show, it’s absolutely great, “even if it is only a lateshow”. Indeed, I would go as far as to say that shows like S.C.O.F.F.! are why the ADC has the lateshow slow.

70% – snatching a 1st

(If only because I know that, after a few tweaks and cuts, S.C.O.F.F.! will be one of the best Cambridge comedies in a long time)