Review by Lucy Holz
The Cambridge Footlights are famous worldwide, but nowhere more-so than the UK. Renowned for nurturing dozens if not hundreds of comedians, actors and personalities well known today, alumni of this group include the likes of Hugh Laurie, Richard Ayoade and Miriam Margolyes.
A sketch comedy group, this collective is a place to nurture hilarious characters, try out funny scenarios and train the comedy muscles. The current iteration of the Footlights is a touring crew, having been to venues in England and who will be heading to the US after their run at Edinburgh Fringe.
In a large room with a hefty crowd, it is clear the reputation of the Footlights precedes them. A group of five young comedians dressed in navy overalls, the show begins with an energetic dance sequence.
We are immediately introduced to the premise of the show, that this group of five desperately want to become six. They are looking for their sixth member and will choose one lucky person from the audience. This notion is used as a through line between the unrelated sketches, creating structure and purpose.
The audience are treated to skit after skit, but rather than smoothly segueing from one sketch to another, the show has music and lighting transitions between. With some of the skits being literally one-liners, often the transition music is longer than the act itself. This creates more confusion than comedy, with the audience initially clapping each bit but eventually deciding there are just too many transitions to keep it up.
The longer sketches are where this group really shines, as they are able to successfully set up a premise where they can create their comedy. A couple of musical sequences are the highlight of the show, as their length allows the audience to really settle in for a good laugh.
This act is ultimately an ensemble piece, with each member playing to their strengths and complementing the other performers. Jemima Langdon is a standout with her charismatic and assured performance, accompanied by her striking singing voice. Joy Adeogun is another crowd pleaser, with her ironic asides and audience interaction adding some dimension to the show.
If you’ve heard of The Cambridge Footlights and always wanted to know what it was all about, this troupe is here to show you. A lively hour of sketch from what could easily be the next generation of great comic performers, this show is definitely worth a watch.