Cambridge Arts Theatre
Reviewed – 10th March 2019
“Durham Revue … brought a magnificent style and energy to the stage with an act that was intelligent, funny and well executed”
When Olivia Colman won an Oscar at the 2019 Academy Awards there was an enormous amount of media attention relating to her current and past acting credits. It was pleasing to see media reference to her being part of a 1984 Cambridge Footlights production.
The Cambridge Footlights is one of the oldest student comedy troupes and has had several members that have gone on to achieve success in the entertainment world including Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, John Cleese, David Baddiel, Emma Thompson, Mel Giedroyc and Sandi Toksvig amongst many others. Each Spring they hold two shows at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. The first of these featured The Bristol Revunions and The Durham Revue joining their Cambridge hosts for a fun-filled evening.
Opening the evening were the team of six from Bristol who entertained the audience over the next thirty minutes with seventeen quick fire sketches. This was apparently the group’s first performance together and whilst cleverly written their performance did seem under rehearsed. Sketches that worked well included two women greeting each other using what seemed like every football goal celebration seen on Match of the Day; an interesting take on the #MeToo movement (#WomenPooToo), and a barbershop quartet connection to marital problems. A sketch that featured a death from a stabbing was uncomfortable to watch and given the current crisis with knife crime perhaps it should be rethought.
Next on was Durham Revue, who had six people that looked and acted as if they were a professional outfit. They brought a magnificent style and energy to the stage with an act that was intelligent, funny and well executed. I particularly liked their sketches about Nelson and Churchill with the way they cleverly linked them to insurance companies. Also impressive were their takes on West Side Story, Teletubbies, Where’s Wally and their explanation of comedy.
Follow a short break it was the turn of The Cambridge Footlights to take the stage and as with the group before them the audience experienced a slick performance. A much larger cast of fifteen competently delivered some very funny sketches including takes on Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mary Poppins, Grease, Andy Murray and Cluedo. Standout for me were the ‘audiobook recording’ that involved the audience and the Headmaster story, though both could have benefitted from being a few minutes shorter.
This was a highly enjoyable evening featuring some exceptional comedy talent at the early stage of their theatrical careers. My only slight disappointment with the show was the very bare stage with only a few chairs for props. It would also be beneficial for there to have been some kind of programme to identify who these impressive performers were and to be able to look out for their names in the future.
The second of the two shows is at the same venue on March 17th featuring Oxford Revue and The Leeds Tealights.
Reviewed by Steve Sparrow
Footlights logo by Ed Bankes
Cambridge Arts Theatre
Previously reviewed at this venue: