Virgin Smoker is comedy feast as Freshers bare all

30 October 2008

The virgin smoker tends to be somewhat akin to the description of Cindies suggested by one of the first-time comics. “It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet where you pick the best bits and leave the less appetizing parts in the corner”.

Although like any virgin smoker there were the odd, slightly jarring flavours; from nervous under-projection and shuffling feet to over-reliance on audience participation that wasn’t forthcoming, in the main, the selection catered for all palettes.

Particularly choice titbits included an entertaining account of speed dating confusion, and perhaps the first display of body contortionism a Footlights smoker has ever seen (from the aptly named Bendy Conterio). Meanwhile, a brilliantly judged critique of Robin’s part in the Batman saga was particularly deftly handled by Jacob Shepherd, who dealt with another comic already having touched on his material with the confidence and panache of a far more experienced comedian.

Although songs and sketches featured on the menu, the stand-up acts, probably the most daunting for first time performers, proved to be the most popular dishes.

As one performer nervously admitted, “If you fail at stand up, it’s sort of like failing at being yourself”. Their bravery paid dividends however, and amongst their number particular mention must go to Phil Wang, whose self-deprecating and charismatic humour proved to be the icing on the cake of the evening. This said, there were several successful sketches, the most impressive of which was delivered by Mark Fiddamam and Rachel Golding with their fantastically surreal portrayal of Terry Wogan being baited by two angry anoraks. Kicking off with a joke about “a dwarf stripper at Granny’s funeral”, we knew from the beginning that this pair weren’t going to shy away from the absurd.

At the risk of over extending the culinary metaphor, James Walker’s outraged defence of dyslexia in Karim Amijee’s sharp, cynically satirical sketch was quite simply the cherry on the top.

Overall though, it lacked the smooth confidence of a Michelin starred menu, this smorgasbord of delicious surprises offered a refreshing taste of the variety these comics will doubtless bring to the Cambridge comedy feast.