REVIEW: Footlights Presents: Bread
Like Sherlock, and not in a good way.
Bread is reassuring, generally good, and occasionally really rather enjoyable. It also gets a bit wearying in large amounts (yes, I’m talking about the foodstuff and the show).
Let’s get the positives (and there are many) out of the way first. The cast are uniformly fantastic and the production team manage to pull off an extremely slick set, with the sound team providing the basis for what was, to my mind, one of the funniest sketches of the night.
Revolving around a student desperately trying to remember if she’d left a porn tab open before she opened her laptop, it was a well-paced masterclass in facial expressions, alongside an internal monologue echoing over the speakers and the hapless student looking for all the world as if she had a porcupine doing somersaults in her stomach.
On top of that, there’s a real thread of dark humour running through the show, with one of the latter sketches concerning a police officer (with a rather dubious Scottish accent) interviewing the parents of a mass-shooter. The sketch is lean and avoids the flaws seen in some of the other sketches.
What flaws? Well, the show needs tightening up and it can collapse under the weight of its own intelligence at times. Some of the sketches seem inserted purely to pad out the run-time, with one about a supermarket failing to draw a laugh on the first viewing and only becoming marginally funnier when the joke returns later in the show.
Plus, a couple of the sketches are about two minutes too long, and would have benefited from being ended on a high instead of being allowed to peter out. A case in point is the final sketch which presents us with the exchange trip from hell: the parents go on holiday, there’s a sectarian riot in the living room, and there’s an escaped cow.
The lead-up is well executed and the denouement is gut-bustingly funny, with a plumber screaming on the floor, people getting burnt at the stake, and a bloke in a cow mask smoking a joint in the background. Problem is, they don’t end it there- the writers try to tack on something about an exchange being a way of teaching people a way of life, and then the whole sketch fizzles out a bit. Like Sherlock, they could have ended on a high, but they decided to wring some more stage-time out of it and, like Sherlock, it backfired.
Bread is a decent show, and the cast are sure to do great work as time goes on. That said, it’s not as tight as it should be, and she of the sketches fail to hit the mark. It’s a good evening out and, like its namesake, hard to go wrong with.
3/5: does the job, but hardly fizzes.
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Tips from the Footlights Membership Officer
This is not a drill.