Review: Love Handles – Footlights’ Tour Show

MARK DANCIGER is impressed with the consistency of the Cambridge Footlights but sees more potential as the tour continues.

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The Footlights International Tour Show 2015: Love Handles. For dates and venues please see a list here.
There’s a strong chance that you already know what this review is going to say.

I’ll of course start by pointing out the Footlight’s stellar reputation, how they’ve produced half the world’s A-list comedians, and how much pressure there always is on them to match the quality of the previous productions. I’ll then comment on how the sketches were generally a mixed bag, with some outstanding sketches that brought the audience to hysterics and a few dud gags that could easily have been left out. I’ll conclude by arguing that it’ll undoubtedly get better over the course of the mammoth world tour, and that come October it will undoubtedly be a far more refined show. 4 stars. It’ll probably get 5 on the home run. End of review.

A changing cast but with a consistent humour.

The fact is, the review of the Footlights Tour is roughly the same every year. But there’s good reason for this. The Footlights, for all their slightly aloof reputation, and the constant worry of whether or not this year will produce the next David Mitchell, are remarkably consistent. I’ve seen the footlights perform for the past 4 years, and every year their show is enormously entertaining, but always with the same mix of genius sketches and less funny, overlong jokes.

Even the poster encourages smiles and laughter.

This year is no exception. Luke Sumner, Olivia Le Andersen, Archie Henderson, Adrian Grey and Eleanor Colville demonstrate that they are absolutely the right people to head Cambridge’s most prestigious troupe. Some of the sketches are a delight- a gay cowboy musical, Michael Gove’s standup routine, a badly organised witch-hunt and an arm transplant gone wrong are up there with the best I’ve seen from the footlights.

A strong group.

Other sketches slightly outstayed their welcome – a chiropractor gag, involving some hilariously awkward audience participation, was funny to begin with, but quickly began to drag. Other sketches probably could have been cut altogether- a funky chicken dance routine was a nice idea, but didn’t have enough substance to work. Further, some of the musical numbers suffered from sound issues – the piano was far too loud, and the performers were unable to project over it. This meant that those towards the back of the ADC missed a lot of lines.

It’s an impressive tour i’ll give them that much!

However, these are all issues that are bound to be resolved over the run. The group have months in which to tweak sketches, remove those that didn’t quite work and replace them with fresher material. In fact, this opening week was surely just a sounding board for them to learn what works and what doesn’t. Come the home run in October, this will be a formidable show.

4 stars