Review: Footlights Smoker

Connie Fisher 13 November 2013

From the opening equine, Russian Lynx-effect to the closing ukulele, Tuesday's smoker was a real hit, with few (if any) cringe-worthy, unfunny moments.

There was a scattering of new faces in amongst the old Footlights favourites, sweeping the audience from the initial proposition of Star Wars through the invention of Chinese Whispers and up in the air with Darwin Airlines, who informed us how to really survive in a plane crash with the aid of natural selection.

A couple of clever role-reversals kept the audience on their toes: a seriously irresponsible driving instructor, who seemed to be aggravating his poor pupil, turned out to be taking (and failing) his own test to be a driving instructor, and an inebriated interviewee at a job interview for Microsoft was eventually shown to be the interviewer, namely Mr Bill Gates.

Three budding comics recycled and revamped material from the Corpus Smoker a couple of weeks ago, which admittedly is just an instance of sheer bad luck that their reviewer happened to have seen both. Milo Edwards shared with us the perils of daytime TV, Adrian Gray detailed the ailments of his teenage years and Jamie Fraser gave his impression of the Vine trailer for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine.

A fabulous nerd provided us with a 'gameplay walkthrough' of 'Dragon's Quest 2'  on a giant blue headset and the brilliantly-dressed President for the Society of Unprepared Public Speakers was, well, unprepared.

On a slightly more negative note, a metadramatic sketch in which one comic insisted the other had to take all his clothes off for the sketch to end seemed a little bit like sexual harassment, and an amusing reproduction of Socrates viewing a new sculpture of himself (and complaining about his minimised assets) ended with the sculptor having to awkwardly call the lights down.

An adventurer's tale of his journey to find a magic lamp (behind Norwich Tesco's) was admirably sharp, written in seamless rhyming couplets. He had the chance to rid the world of Facebook for good, but instead chose to spend his wish in an arguably more egotistical fashion.

Some useless undercover policemen ended up writhing on the floor from pepper spray, followed by Emma Powell's silent magician, amazingly making her own fingers appear and disappear, alongside some incredulous facial expressions.

One of the few recurring scenes was the planning of Matilda Wnek and Alex MacKeith's joint birthday party: Alex, member of Bead Society (no definite article) doesn't understand, to Matilda's despair, that he and his friends are obviously not wanted.

MacKeith returned for what was probably the highlight of the night, a dad translating whale music to his son Dory-from-Finding-Nemo-style, while managing to tell the boy that he's a drug addict and divorcing the boy's mother. Even the son, Ben Pope, couldn't stifle his giggles.

The night was rounded off by a beautiful love song of insults, serenaded on a ukulele. Another great night of giggles and guffaws: top work, Footlights.