Review: Footlights Smoker

Suvi Joensuu 24 November 2012

Footlights Smoker

ADC Theatre, 11pm, Wed 21 Nov

The lights to the Week 7 Footlights Smokers dimmed on a full house. The first act jumped straight into character with a healthy jab at Stephen Hawking’s expense, something along the lines of “I tried calling him but it went to voicemail.”

Two tired acts smudged the evening, but left no lasting damage. The first involved a curly haired boy finding his way onto the stage and claiming he “was not leaving” until we gave him satisfactory cheers. This left the audience exhaling a tired chorus of “woooo” until he did leave the stage, thankfully taking along his “let’s hear it for pantomime” and “let’s hear it for Felicity” and “let’s hear it for the earth” with him, by which time the audience harbored no illusions of any great jokes to come. The second most tiresome act came as no. seventeen, when a young man walked onto the stage, nervously clutched the microphone, and proceeded to speak for three minutes about why prisoners deserved the right to vote. The theatre became a bored Lecture Room 3, as the audience found itself grappling with complex existential issues entirely incompatible with the ADC theatre.

But the rest of the night was largely a feat of comic brilliance. We chuckled merrily away at a deformed parrot trained to speak English, the conversation running something along these lines, ‘I’m Harold, I’m from AAWKKRAAWK.’ ‘In English, Harold.’ ‘Ah, that’s right. I’m from Granthum.’ We were peppered throughout the evening by the Thesaurus Club, made up of five men, four of whom sat in chairs and the fifth who stood at their head and read the rules. ‘The first rule of the thesaurus club is that you do not talk about the thesaurus club.’ ‘The second rule of the thesaurus club is that you do not converse about the thesaurus club.’ The subtle wit of this act tickled the appreciation of every Cambridge student in the room.

We found ourselves laughing helplessly after a stage voiceover introduced, ‘The Contemporary Issues in Transcontinental Geopolitics: A Children’s Guide’ where two men stood on the stage, the first threw a crumpled ball of paper at the second’s head, and the second turned around and furiously beat the pulp out of the first. The stage voice then explained, ‘Issue 11: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ and the audience roared with laughter. The political mockery continued with a second appearance, as two men stood on the stage in absolute darkness. The audience waited, unsure, but laughed appreciatively when the voiceover explained, ‘Issue 48: Energy Crisis.’

Overall, we saw a good mix of comedy, at a great pace. The evening even borderlined charming. The final act reminded us all of Love Actually, as a wonderfully cute kid walked onto stage with a shy smile, holding a stack of cards while Silent Night played serenely in the background. We watched him flip tranquilly through the cards, marked with messages in black ink, declaring his holiday dreams of finding a pretty woman. However, the festive mood swiftly vanished as he opened a mouth dripping with blood, and it became disgustingly evident that he hadn’t meant holiday love when he’d held up a card saying ‘All I want for Christmas is You.’ Once again – an entertaining and sold out Footlights Smoker.

Suvi Joensuu