Review: Footlights Smoker

Pippa Smith 9 November 2016

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. Last night’s Footlights' show was more than a little bit piquant, with plenty of material that can only be described as totally random and / or brilliantly bizarre. From fighting over a chainsaw with Her Royal Highness in Cambridge’s new Aldi, to phallocentric phone sex with Dracula, and the strange obituary of Wayne Stubbs (a 79-year-old run over by an Aston Martin whilst trying to rescue his cockapoo) the show was certainly eclectic in its offerings.  

My first time seeing a Footlights' show, the atmosphere in the auditorium impressed me from the get go: a packed and visibly and audibly excited house. Never in my three years in Cambridge have I witnessed a bunch of students laughing so readily and so heartily. There was an element of self-deprecation to many of the acts, something which helped to get the audience immediately on board. Patrick Wilson’s list of the five best feelings, number one being taking your socks off after a long day, was a perfect dose of normality. Let’s face it, who’s never had that feeling? Ashleigh Weir’s song was brilliant too, and had me hoping that she really would get that date in the ADC bar.

Luisa Callander and Sam Knights had the difficult job of warming up the audience, but their sketch set in a vintage shop set the bar pretty high. Callander’s insistence that all she wanted was a ‘wavy shirt’ was the perfect foil to Knights’s increasingly weird and wonderful propositions. The sketch which really had me laughing was a brilliantly unexpected job interview piece, where a First Class Cambridge degree just wasn’t enough to secure a banking job. At the end of the show, Rosanna Suppa's police safety sketch had audience participation down to a tee.

My first Footlights show left me wanting more. With just the right balance between the outright random and ever-funny quintessentially Cambridge problems, the performers had me laughing from the word go.  And finally, a note to Leo Reich, the fresher who was tugging all of our heartstrings – please keep practising your white male humour in front of the mirror.