ADC Smoker

Ryan O'Sullivan 25 February 2010

23rd February 2010


‘Anyone can do shoe tricks!’ Keith Akushi informs Ben Ashenden after performing literally the most incredible piece of shoe related juggling I have seen in my life.

‘Even girls?’ Ben asks.

‘No!’ Keith replies.

If you missed this week’s Smoker you would have missed an incredible incidence of footwear manipulation (at one point Alex Owen actually threw a shoe through the air, it flipped over at least twice, before being actually caught by Keith’s actual hands!). If you had seen how those shoes flew you would have understood why girls (with their dainty little hands and nail breaking high-heels) could never perform shoe tricks.

Shoe tricks are like comedy: You throw something about a bit, sometimes it falls flat and sometimes it smells so good you just want to suck the sweat out of it. The only difference between shoe tricks and comedy is that, although a woman could never match a man’s abilities at taking off trainers in enthralling ways, they can thrash them big time when it comes to being funny!

Oestrogen sprayed all over the stage as a sketch brimming with ridiculous archetypes of ‘strong feminist females’ aptly attacked last fortnight’s unfair assault against girlies. During a meeting of an ‘all female poetry group’ anger ensues after (in expectation of a visit from Joan Keats) that stupid bloke John Keats comes striding in, pork-sword a swingin,’ spouting sexist filth! Mairin O’Hagan’s brilliant, beer-swigging character’s indignant storm-out after her poem (‘Muff’) is found to be ‘rather dry,’ was a highlight of hilarity. Emma Sidi’s monologue was spectacular as her confident characterisation completely blew up the stage. Sidi’s self-assured approach and comic timing uncovered laughs that a more tentative delivery would have overlooked; notably her odd closing words about earning money on a ‘lemonade stall’ which were presented with a ‘funerlol’ inducing final facial expression.

Obviously them lads were good too… (irritated sigh). A ‘funerlol’ (when you laugh so much you kill someone and have to attend their funeral) was part of a genius collection of ‘lols’ compiled by Phil Wang, who opened the show. Joe Bannister’s one man attempt to perform all the characters from ‘The Archers’ was the best of the- all very lol-worthy- manologues. In fact Joe made me wet myself… because one of his props was a large glass of water and he kept shoving his stupid hand into it. Finally Tom Ovens closed with a hysterically dark song about a boy that owns rats. Too many rats.

All the regular footlights peeps were also on form (Fiddaman and Moran’s ‘Broken Britain’ series made me barf up loads… of laugh) although a sketch about Wayne Rooney went down like a shoe trick actually would… if you performed one before the Queen… and hit her in the face with a misjudged, flick-up of a wellington boot.

Overall this was one of the best Smokers since October so it’s a shame that this review had to be ruined by an unnecessary focus upon gender. Think about that. And don’t do drugs. Or break the Queen’s nose with a shoe.

Ryan O’Sullivan