Review: The Cambridge Footlights Presents Xylophone

Vanessa Upton 4 February 2016

Xylophone is everything you would expect from a Footlights sketch show: Clever, topical and laugh-out-loud hilarious. The show is based around the alphabet and has a sketch for each letter. The structure created a unifying theme, which still enables a lot of variety and creativity.

The pace of the whole show is great and it begins with a fantastic musical number, created by Toby Marlow, which immediately engages the audience. The sketches themselves are all very varied in length and while a few drag most are very tight. The audience responded really well to the sketches, which are funny throughout and build to a great climax.

The political jokes went down particularly well, while the more meta jokes, referring to the process of planning ideas for each sketch are less effective, but only appear occasionally throughout the performance. My favourite sketch was ‘K is for Kid’. It begins with parents meeting a teacher to discuss their child being bullied and descends into completely unexpected ridiculousness. The physical theatre, in this sketch particularly, is really strong and develops the comedy beyond the puns, which are fantastic.

The cast work really well as an ensemble and the energy throughout the whole show is really impressive. Riss Obolensky and Sam Knights’s performances are both very strong and both use some delightfully contorted facial expressions. Notable mention must also be given to Zak Ghazi-Torbati for his incredible performance in ‘W for Wales’, which takes the form of a dramatic ballad. This song and the final musical number left the show on a high. I really enjoyed this performance and I imagine it will get stronger throughout the week.