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Cambridge Footlights: Niceties
Cancer, Let's Talk Bollocks
Carey Marx: White Night
Carrie Quinlan: Fear of a Beige Planet
Causing A Scene
Charlie Pickering: Auto
Charred & Dangerous
Chipping Stortford Goes Large: The Bid For City Status
Chris Cox: He Can't Read Minds?
Chris Durkin: Easily Distracted
Chris Elliot: Return to Sender
Clan Of Divorcées
Colin & Fergus: Rutherford Lodge
Comedy Club 4 Kids
Comprehensive Steve Day
Confessions Of A Paralysed Porn Star
Congress Of Oddities
Corinne Grant: Nice Friendly Lady Hour
Count Arthur Strong: The Musical?
Craig Hill's Kilty Pleasures
Cufflinks & Jolly Ranchers for Dummies
Cambridge Footlights: Niceties
Niceties is a sun-touched fun-blushed treasury of square and squeaky sketches about earnest people in odd situations not understanding things. Cram-packed with little ideas and slam-crammed with friendly faces, it will be fast, tight, and right on the money.
Original Review:You, like me, might have missed the meeting. But the funniest thing in the world is, apparently, a light being switched off.
It must be, because the Cambridge Footlights think so, and you don’t get much smarter than them. How else can you explain the fact that sketch after sketch ends, seemingly mid-dialogue, with the stage being plunged into darkness. Either flicking a switch is the comedy Philosophers’ Stone, turning everything into gold, or they’re having difficulty keeping their electricity meter key topped up.
Of course, using the blackout to dodge that awkward ‘oughtn’t we really try to write a punchline’ dilemma is an age-old trick, but this team use it so often, so indiscriminately and so far away from any natural climax, it quickly becomes overwhelmingly frustrating.
Then again, it’s been a while since this long-running outfit performed just sketches, preferring in recent years to weave their ideas into some sort of narrative, often misguidedly. So you can see why this back-to-basics approach appeals.
And, to be fair, this fivesome do have a good flow of half-decent ideas on disparate subjects that would ill-suit a formal structure. But rarely do they properly exploit their inspiration for laughs.
The set-ups are frequently imaginative and promising: quintruplets packed into the womb, cricketers idling away the hours in the outfield unaware of any match, the very last dinosaurs on earth – but there’s rarely enough characterisation, and almost always insufficient jokes, to get much out of them.
A couple of sketches do stand apart, which isn’t a great strike rate: an Edwardian family posing for a photograph under the steely gaze of their overbearing father, and a wonderful parody of Tim Henman, deluded and needy, bugging the British tennis’s newest golden boy, Andy Murray.
Former Chortle Student Comedy Award finalist Simon Bird plays Henman and, while it’s impossible to know who wrote what, he seems to have the strongest comic instincts of the five. His two male colleagues, Sam Kitchener and Joe Thomas have a decent line in floppy-haired Brideshead boys – hardly out-of-stereotype for the Cambridge set, but not without character-actor appeal. And, at times, Kitchener has a touch of the Hugh Laurie about him.
Ginger-haired Helen Cripps is rather nondescript, but it’s Tiani Ghosh who stands out – for all the wrong reasons. She gurns her way through every sketch forever widening her eyes and twisting her lips into awkward contortions, even if the tone is otherwise naturalistic and she’s little more than background furniture. And when she does get a line, it’s squawked out in such strangulated exaggeration it sounds as if a parrot’s giving birth to a bowling ball.
Some good will come out of this team, it always does - Mark Watson and the Garth Marenghi team are among recent alumni – even if their key annual showcase again falls short on the laughometer.
Didn't see this in Edinburgh but on the tour they have just started. I would have to say to anyone thinking of going - don't. They have some good ideas but absolutely no idea where to go with them. They managed to muurder every attempt either by going on too long or by not developing enough. It had all the feeling of a sixth form end-of-term stage show. A couple of the lads (Sam Kitchener and Joe Thomas)had decent presentation skills and I'm sure will have a future as actors. I would also have given them more respect if Tiani Ghosh was not amongst them. She was so, so bad and so very irritating I felt the urge to shout out loud. Tiani, if you read this, do not ever go on stage again. Ever! Take that grating voice and scrunched-up facial expression and be the annoying 'office clown' somewhere. To the others. Keep working on it.There is something there but it really needs some help and better comic direction
The most disappointing show we have ever seen at the Edinburgh Festival. Have attended performances by Cambridge Footlights since 1976 but will avoid them at all costs in future. Due to the poor script and complete lack of punchlines, only the dimming of the lights between sketches gave any indication that they were finished. A truly cringeworthy performance
This was without doubt one of the worst shows I ve ever seen. Alternative comedy, which is a bit too 'alternative'. The comedy was original but playing far too much on its middle class Cambridge theme, which become overly tiresome after the first two or three sketches. Some of the ideas were brilliant and executed technically well but lacked any punch. No one in the audience was especially moved by the performance and the increasingly forced applause after each failed sketch seems to come out of politeness rather than actual acceptance or approval. For the group to improve they must have versatility. Tiani Ghosh thought she could overcome this by having the same bewildered and bemused facial expression, which after 55mins was simply tiresome and feeble. Avoid this at all costs unless you actually know the cast and if so bring a book or Sudoku or something
Poorest show I saw in the festival. Never seen such forced applause out of politeness as each sketch worsened with time. I saw much better acts who will have to struggle their way to the top, but it seems as this is a Cambridge Footlights production, that it's their birth right to be successful. Mediocre ideas, no punchlines, no laughter, nothing.... just twitching across the room full of disappointed souls staring into the the darkess to find the solice of a young boy opening one of the increasingly few exits.