REVIEW: Acting the Goat – A Sketchumentary

Beasts Gone Wild: this animalistic sketch show provides a wacky, wild and wonderful night out.

acting the goat Cambridge Theatre sketch show sketchumentary tab theatre

There is one word which describes Acting the Goat above all others: surreal.

It was a bizarre and eccentric experience from start to finish, and now I’ve got all the synonyms out of the way, it seems only fitting to start with the man who fulfilled them all; the incredibly entertaining Mr Tobias Fiddlepint-Smythe (Guy Lewy). The host and presenter of the show at St John’s Palmerston Theatre, he set the tone and his character, a parodic hybrid of David Attenborough and oddball presenters everywhere, became more entertaining as the show progressed. A Royal Society presentation that he gave completely reshaped how we should think about otters, and this developed from Emma Plowright’s brilliantly camp polar bear, discussing their misrepresentation on the BBC. Taken together, this formed the highlight of the show for me.

Riley Smith also had a stand-out performance, particularly her renditions of a raccoon on Masterchef and a trapped moth, while Rebecca Guthrie provided a deadpan counterpoint to her infectious enthusiasm. The music between sketches was smooth and upbeat, which was a pleasant change from the dramatic music pre-show. On sitting down, it was so intense I felt like I was about to be shown a documentary on the plight of the Amazonian rainforest. Instead, I was shown the plight of the goldfish who protested their lack of memory was a lie, along with humanity’s cruel use of animals as mere everyday phrases, to bat about at will (your mandatory pun, brought to you by the Tab Cambridge. You’re welcome).

acting the goat poster

No students were harmed in the making of this sketchumentary

I left with a feeling that some of the sketches could have been developed a little bit more, and had further untapped potential than what was realised. Personally, I also wanted to see the return of Emma’s Bongo bird. That said, some sketches were ended brilliantly, particularly a certain hamster’s job interview.

Elizabeth Howcroft and Carine Valarché executed their roles admirably, in particular Elizabeth’s depiction of a feline exercising her power over its “master”, and Carine’s snobby hummingbird, which balanced well against the energy of Riley’s raccoon.

The show is worth a watch, being wacky, wonderful and weird in equal parts. This brand of comedy probably isn’t for everyone, but then again, what brand is? Give it a watch: you’ll find it intriguing, funny and you’ll definitely have a good time.

4/5 stars