Back in Town Again: Waltzing Out Of Town

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

The Cambridge Footlights is a curious beast, still producing comics of the calibre of Mark Watson or the Garth Marenghi team, while its own shows tend to be handicapped by a formal, theatrical pretentiousness. It is almost as if the group stifles natural talent that succeeds despite the Footlights, rather than because of it.

So, then, to alumnus Nick Mohammed’s solo offering. Could he be the next breakout  success? The answer, from this meagre offering, is a resounding no.

He’s a solid performer, but he can hardly be said to stretch himself. His characters range from a TV weather forecaster to a TV chef to a TV wildlife expert. You start to wonder if he’s ever met anyone real, in the flesh.

With not much to distinguish between them, even the ones that aren’t TV-based, these roles just cannot hold even the most cursory interest. Yet they are mostly involved in very long sketches – and they all seem a damn site lot longer than they actually are.

You might forgive the characters for not being well drawn if they were simply hollow  vessels for a cracking script. But they’re not.

Each sketch employs the same tricks as the last, and the main one - spouting nonsense by just deliberately using the wrong words  - becomes tiresome quickly. In a breathless advertisement for an unmissable sale, he hollers: ‘Go! Everything must Tuesday!’ But after several hundred examples, such a gimmick wears very thin, not to mention unnecessarily confusing.

This oddly-named show is not completely laugh-free. Some sudden lurches in the direction of a sketch can catch you unawares – especially given the linear nature of most of them – and there’s a nice bit of silent comedy as a channel-hopping  Mohammed becomes embroiled in the emotions of the TV shows. But even then, the script trundles on well past the laugh.

That’s the recurring problem that just cannot be overcome. Even when something starts as a the germ of a decent joke - such as the Microsoft paper clip giving just more than spelling advice, or the serious-minded  health and safety man getting agitated over a joke book or the air traffic controller fielding a range of unrelated calls – they carry on relentlessly after we’ve got it.

Some brutal editing and focussed direction could possibly turn these around; but  producing enough material to replace all those layers of fat that need to be hacked off will prove a tall order.

Review date: 1 Jan 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.