Review: Failure

Charlotte Furniss-Roe 10 October 2014

The premise of ‘Failure’ as a concept had potential; indeed many sketches were based on a solid joke, but that's not really enough: one joke cannot always sustain a whole sketch. There was overall a sense of dragging, not only in individual sketches but in the naturalised introductions and explanations, which hindered the momentum of the production in the same way that no one would want to read an article, or indeed a sentence, after it has made its point, since this is rather superfluous and leaves the reader expectant of something else to come.

The quickfire sketches worked better, whilst the longer ones meant the production sometimes lacked energy. This was also caused by what felt like a total lack of involvement and confidence in the production; perhaps the fear of failure held the performers back from fully committing to their writing.

Some of these issues are entirely excusable in stand-up. I have seen both Patrick Brooks and Natasha Cutler performing (great) stand-up, but frustratingly this change of format did not seem to work well for them.

Admittedly by the end, the cast had worked up some more energy. This may have been because the finale seemed more honed than the actual sketches, giving the impression that the production was rather thrown together and ‘all filler, no killer’.

'Failure' had the self-deprecation of a stand-up, without the energy of a play or the polish of a successful sketch show. Yes, it is only student comedy, but it is also unfair to Cambridge comedy to pitifully hold low expectations of the genre since it can be stunning.


Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Check out 'Failure' for yourselves by heading down to the Corpus Playroom at 9.30pm everyday until Saturday 11th October. Tickets can be booked online at