Oh the thinks you have thunk. The thoughts in your tank. That tank with the stank. I always think it is necessary to be just the tiniest bit tipsy when I go to review an ADC Late show, particularly when its comedy, because I am not a nocturnal gal and if I’m not having a Party Time I am liable to fall asleep. It may be the case, however, that I cannot bounce back from staying up past my bedtime like I did in first year and am a bit unhinged on this Thursday morning. I’m going to do my best, however, to tell you about a sketch show called Think Tank, and try to use my words to convey how weird and wonderful it was without seeming like I’ve gone totally insane myself.

I think being in a show which is affiliated with the Footlights must be absolutely terrifying. There is so much pressure to live up to not only the reputation of your peers, but the history of the society and its prestigious alumnae. People hold Footlights Presents productions to a higher standard than a lot of student comedy. And with such a back catalogue, it is hard to produce something that is original and fresh. Think Tank does just this. It is an ambitious, multimedia production, which elevates it from the typical offerings, and the jokes are zany and weird. Lakshana Gunathilagan’s sound design works with the performers' dialogue to really play with the ADC’s space in really innovative ways – a particularly successful sketch involved the performers interacting with the audience in a way I certainly haven’t seen before and thoroughly enjoyed. Student comedy often has an element of improv which makes the whole thing seem under-rehearsed, but Think Tank plays with this, shifting effortlessly from loose, off-the-cuff jokes to interactions with pre-recorded audio. I was reminded of the careful and deliberate artifice of Bo Burnham’s stand-up.

There is something lovely about going to see female-led comedy that isn’t advertising itself on that basis

The more conventional sketches land well too. I particularly liked a sketch which parodies a Steiner school, giving the comedians an opportunity to show off their character acting skills, and a brief skit parodying the idea of a snap election. Other sketches seemed to fall into the nonsensical, and the audience was left laughing less at the punchlines, but more the total absurdity of the scenario. Sometimes I was left confused, not sure whether I had failed to get the joke, or whether there just hadn’t been one. Unfortunately, I did feel that some of the sketches dragged or laboured the jokes slightly. There were lots of incredibly funny premises taken in odd directions, and the occasional corpsing from the performers did leave me feeling a bit like the joke was at the audience’s expense. Criticising technical issues would be pointless – yes there were issues with sound and lighting cues, but the performers dealt with them with grace and humour. I tend to say that I’m sure these technical issues will be ironed out in later performances, but in this case there feels like very little need for tech issues to be remedied. In some ways it adds to the production’s charm.


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There is something lovely about going to see female-led comedy that isn’t advertising itself on that basis – not to say that those productions don’t fill an invaluable role in Cambridge and comedy more broadly. Despite its few flaws, Think Tank is great fun, and I have become more fond of it as I’ve written this review, which is a rare occurrence. Here are five comics with great chemistry and potential – and that is all the think I can give you on the matter.

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