Comedy: Footlights Smoker
Richard Stockwell was impressed by the comedic talents on display, despite an overly rowdy audience
by Richard Stockwell
Wednesday 2nd May 2012, 14:13 BST
Yes, Smokers still happen in exam term, so dedicated are the comedians of Cambridge to your amusement. As so often, a line-up of high quality, interspersed with some weaker material, and in need of a little more editing, produced a largely entertaining evening of original comedy. Original and comedy are what the Footlights do. This usually commands laughter, but at the very least respect. Phil Wang dealt well with the early heckling, but it should not have persisted all night for the musical maestro Harry Michell to have to put it down again at the end.
The Footlights Old Guard were on form once more. Pierre Novellie in particular continues to impress with his conversational style, and enjoys performing as much as audiences enjoy watching him. Lowell Belfield’s distant style lends itself better to sketches than stand-up, but he delivered some brilliant material from the mike. And very few actors have ever had the ability to make forgetting their lines as funny as George Potts does.
Michael Campbell’s one-line comedy was very witty, but could do with a less bashful delivery. Audiences need a few of seconds to get wordplay humour, and many of the laughs he could have had from me were instead chuckled to myself on the walk home. Wordplay is Jack Gamble’s staple, but it relies on a fluency that is disrupted by the same jarring stop-start whether for one laugh or a room full. And with her elaborately reasoned thought-wanderings, I cannot help but feel Matilda Wnek’s stand-up is too clever for its own good.
Last night’s smoker also managed to stay refreshed with some exciting new talent. We heard a psychopathic anecdote narrated in acute psychological detail, and a brilliantly performed and written love song accompanied by the ukulele. It also showcased a McCann related sketch that blows away all competition for Most Awkward Moment in a Theatre Ever. However, he can stuff as many mouths with spaghetti and ask as many satirically high brow questions as he likes, but Jon Bailey is still not funny.