Footlights - WHAM BAM

Should they fail to make it professionally in comedy, they could still have a career as a serviceable indie band

★★★
archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 04 Aug 2007
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Cambridge University footlights has a reputation as the best source of comedy talent in Britain, having produced the likes of John Cleese, Stephen Fry and Peter Cook. Consequently, expectations for each new band of performers are extremely high, and this year's Fringe show largely lives up to the hype.

The performance is based around a series of fast and generally well-observed sketches which range from the hilarious to at least mildly entertaining, early highlights being an overly-competitive game of musical chairs which gets extremely personal and an ATM machine which ridicules its users. There is also a well thought out sketch deriding the sensationalism surrounding terrorism and an hilarious exploration of homosexuality in space.

As the long set nears completion, however, the pace does slacken: a well-conceived but ultimately confusing sketch about the ethics of burning babies showing that not every joke can be a winner. Fortunately every dud is followed by a success: one of the best routines centres around the discovery of social networking websites by the heroes of Enid Blyton. If all of the best material were condensed into a shorter time frame the performance would work better. But the talent of the performers cannot be doubted, particularly the duo of Tom Williams and Tom Sharp, as well as the character all-rounder Helen Cripps – a funnier and more entertaining Catherine Tait.

The show's musical finale is further proof of the versatility of the group and, should they fail to make it professionally in comedy, they could still have a career as a serviceable indie band. It's not comedy genius but it is very funny and well worth an hour of anyone's time.