Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003
This year the Footlights celebrate 120 years of comedy with a new exciting and fresh show Non-Sexual Kissing
The Cambridge Footlights have produced another exquisitely crafted comedy of quirky discomfort, beautifully performed and boasting a wealth of wry, left-field comments guaranteed to amuse.
Structured as a series of playlets all taking place in the same block of flats, the show shuffles back and forth between the parallel stories, keeping the pace moving briskly along.
Among others, we have the wife leaving her touchingly naive husband, the friends waiting to spring a surprise party, the mischievous kids on the roof and the old man visited by a series of possibly well-meaning carers. The characters are all brilliantly realised and weave easily in and out of each storyline.
But the format prevents the show taking off into full-blown hilarity. And while there are great lines, none of the people we meet are groteque enough to really raise the laughter in the same way, say, David Brent does in the similarly underplayed Office.
The closest, perhaps, is the know-it-all party guest, who has to be the centre of attention no matter what. His scenes are the closest to really taking off, to making that leap from smiling respect to laugh-out-loud funny.
The other characters have a litany of defects, from the gloriously self-deluded karaoke singer to the returning traveller who shrugs a "thanks" of acknowledgment to any comment, irregardless of its intent.
No one could leave this show unimpressed with the talent on display, and there is no sign of the self-satisfied smugness that has been known to pervade previous Footlights shows.
Instead, the team seduce the audience into their consistent, self-contained world that allows the laughs to emerge naturally from the utterly believable characters. The show ends on a disconcertingly flat note, but that's a rare lapse for the otherwise surefooted team.