Review: ‘Odds’ – Footlights Spring Review 2011

Harriet Peachey 10 May 2011

‘Odds’ – Footlights Spring Review 2011

ADC Theatre

Approaching the end of term it can be said that many of us are in need of a laugh or two. There is no one better to provide this than the critically-acclaimed Footlights who, following a sold-out Pantomime at the end of Michaelmas Term were on hand again to alleviate end-of-term related stress. With a relatively small but talented cast, a wealth of effects and a witty script to match, ‘Odds’ is a show that is perfectly conscious of, but never complacent about, its own merits.

Without doubt, the script managed to incorporate and perfectly balance a wealth of comic effects, from basic slapstick to irony to more complicated literary/political jokes. At times the script did push to its limits what one might term ‘the politically correct’, but never (in my opinion) without achieving the appropriate comic effect.

What seemed at first to be a strangely morbid twist of humour quickly changed with the arrival of Mark Fiddaman playing the Doctor with the bad news banner (spoiler alert). When the cast were all together, there was an overriding sense of unity, but equally when they were working in smaller groups the interplay between them was entertainingly fresh. Though not all those acting in the production were the biggest Footlights names, they were all the same a reminder of just how lucky we are to have the opportunity to watch such talent.

Specific praise must go to the mannerisms of Mark (are first names acceptable?) who makes the best sleazy politician I have ever seen, the brilliantly protracted posture of Tom, the hilariously mismatched intellect and jumpers of Hannah, and of course the bumbling, rambling Nick. The best part of the play? The fact that perhaps no single character learnt a thing from the whole affair. The fact that the script intelligently remained conscious of its own theatrical limitations was also an important part of the play’s comic success.

It seemed perhaps to be more of a play than what is typically termed a ‘revue’ (with the exception of the hilarious but at times deafening video voiceovers/clips), but this is by no means to its detriment. With the exception of the wonderful Tom Pye’s rendition of ‘Feeling Good’, the production never attempted to be a ‘musical’ or anything else but what it was – a genuinely light-hearted, heart-warmingly amusing piece of comedy theatre. The loud laughers in the crowd seemed to think so and you will too, if you managed to get tickets in time. Gutted if you didn’t.

Harriet Peachey