REVIEW: Panopticon

Hilarious, entertaining and witty – Luke had high expectations of these three experienced Footlights comedy-makers and they failed to disappoint.

ADC Comedy Corpus Playroom Footlights oliver taylor panopticon robert oldham sketch show student theatre student writing Theatre tom fairbairn

From the very start, ‘Panopticon’ had the whole audience in stitches, and this comedic momentum persisted the entire evening.

Tom Fairbairn, Rob Oldham and Oliver Taylor all gave outstanding, high-energy performances, with perfect comedic timing and slapstick action. This was clearly helped by the fact that they wrote all of their own material, which further goes to show the fantastic comedy-skills of these three Footlights veterans.

From Thunderbirds to Star Wars, and a dodgy dinner date to a sperm race, every single one of Tom, Rob and Oliver’s sketches were ludicrously entertaining and uproariously funny. Particularly noteworthy was a sketch between Oliver and Rob in which the audience is treated to a very funny slow-mo flashback accompanied by a sports-commentator-like narration. Another great sketch saw Rob and Tom engage in a few playful lad punches that soon turned messy. However, one of the most well received was a sketch in which Oliver has a bad exchange with the human embodiment of the internet (played by Tom), with the day being saved by a personified Windows Task Manager (Rob).

From smallest to biggest – Robert Oldham, Tom Fairbairn and Oliver Taylor

All of the show’s sketches were skilfully written and excellently executed making the entire show both a pleasure, and hilarious, to watch.

The use of props throughout was fantastic, in particular during the final scene in which the stage, which starts out neatly arranged, ends up a little worse for wear. The use of audio recordings was also a stroke of comedy genius, helping to provide a humorous running commentary for some sketches and the highly amusing internal thoughts of characters for others.

The repeated use of three of the characters in many of the sketches – presumably extreme versions of the three comedians themselves – helped to tie the entire show together, particularly in the finale, which left many of the audience members crying with laughter.

You know it’s a classy sketch show when there are two different posters

There were a couple of sketches that weren’t as laugh out loud as the others, but if I were to give this sketch-show one main criticism, it would be that it wasn’t long enough. Oliver, Rob and Tom were all exceptional and it would have been nice to see more sketches from their wacky and wonderfully creative minds.

‘Panopticon’ will be on at the Corpus Playroom until this Saturday and is certainly not a show to be missed!

4.9/5 stars