Review: Footlights Presents: ThinkTank

Rustan Smith 23 January 2020

Footlights Presents: ThinkTank’s unpredictable and spontaneous sketches surprise and impress in an unmissable evening of hilarity.

When sitting down to watch ThinkTank, it’s not clear what to expect. Five minutes in and it’s even less clear what’s coming next, and it’s all the better for it. This fantastic all-female show plays with your expectations in a wonderfully fun manner, utilizing the absurd and often falling into a sort of ‘meta-comedy’ without ever taking itself too seriously.

Image credit: Una McKeown

The show consists of a few large ensemble sketches, and then a set of shorter, often two-people sketches. Although the cast shines brightest when all together, the individual talent at play here makes up for some of the weaker moments in the shorter sketches, which occasionally feel slightly too directionless. Each cast member clearly has great comedic ability and their individual dynamics play really well off each other. I was pleasantly surprised by the confidence that radiated from each cast member, as it’s the sort of show in which it’s hard to tell when the big laughs are going to come, but the cast seemed completely undeterred when certain sketches were faced with meek responses.

Image Credit: Josh Loyd

Among the highlights of the ensemble sketches is an early one in which cast members cleverly personify various fonts, and a ‘Friends’ based sketch that includes a great twist which I won’t spoil, but I can promise it’s not to be missed.

There are certainly some standouts among the shorter sketches as well: the ones that come to mind first are a great ASMR-based sketch that captures the spirit of the phenomena really well, while also injecting ThinkTank’s unique brand of absurdity, and another involving an American ‘Shock-Jock’ radio host and a distraught Lancaster man. I’ll leave it up to you to see how those scenarios play out, as describing them here wouldn’t do them justice and would ruin the feeling of the unexpected that ThinkTank thrives on.

Image credit: Una McKeown

All in all, it’s a fantastically well-done show that showcases some of the best that Cambridge comedy has to offer. Although not every sketch hits the mark entirely, the sheer number of laughs and variety of content packed into the hour long show more than makes up for that. I cannot overstate how much I would encourage you to see this show. It’s the funniest, smartest, and most dynamic comedy show I’ve seen in a long time; it’s really not to be missed.

4.5 stars.