Edinburgh Reviews #12: Footlights

Footlights: Wham Bam
Company: Cambridge Footlights
Venue: Pleasance – Cavern
Date: 23 Aug ’07

Next Cambridge show up was the annual Footlights excursion to the Fringe. These shows can be interesting to watch evolve, or not as the case may be, as they go from an initial run in Cambridge in May Week, then off to the Fringe, then on a tour of the country before returning for a final run back in Cambridge in Freshers’ Week. Sadly, I didn’t see the show in Cambridge this year, but heard mixed reports about it. I was therefore looking forward to the opportunity to reach a verdict.

The show is undoubtedly funny, and by a long way the most intelligent and original set of sketches that I saw in Edinburgh. It felt a little bit let down by slightly tatty production values, however, and the actual performances were, whilst certainly energetic, not the most polished I saw. But that’s probably hypercritical, since I am always disappointed when Footlights shows don’t live up to their best work (a very difficult task indeed).

There isn’t really a bad sketch in it, although “Real Life”, a parody sitcom complete with canned laughter for things which weren’t funny, felt a little tired by its final appearance. All the sketches ran to a decent length, whereas some revues like to fill up their time with throwaway one-gag bits, and as such they had to be concepts with enough life in them to sustain a full sketch. I guess what I’m saying is that the Footlights deserve an awful lot of credit for being by far the most skilled practitioners of their format I saw. Trouble is, I just didn’t actually laugh as much as I did at, say, WitTank’s show, and neither did the respective audiences. If for no other reason, then, I can’t say the show was excellent.


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