Maria Woodford

Having the opportunity to be part of the 2020 Footlights Spring Revue: Crossed Wires has been the highlight of my time at Cambridge so far. I’m from the United States, and I came to Cambridge to do a master’s degree. During my undergrad at Princeton, I was involved with student comedy, and was hoping to get involved in Cambridge’s famous comedy scene in any capacity; so when the opportunity arose to apply to assistant direct Spring Revue, I leapt at the chance to send in an application.

Spring Revue is a massive undertaking for all involved. It is rather unique for a sketch comedy show in terms of its length (two acts) and its cast size (14), and it is nothing if not ambitious. This show revolves around the theme of “crossed wires,” using the telephone motif to loosely tie the sketches together around the concept of mix-ups and miscommunications. When I received an email from dream-team co-directors Ella Burns and Jade Franks that I had been selected for the role, I couldn’t quite believe it. The Footlights has so much name recognition and star power that I felt like a bit of an impostor. Surely this was some joke that was part of the show – perhaps they’d got some wires crossed and meant to choose someone else.

Maria Woodford

To be honest, I was intimidated by the first rehearsal. I was brand-new to Cambridge comedy, while the performers were shining stars and established stalwarts – I had seen most of them perform when I went to see the 2019 tour show during freshers week, or when I laughed my ass off at various Smokers throughout the term. But despite what the Footlights might like us to believe, comedians are people, students like me. I was welcomed right into the rehearsal room, where nobody doubted my abilities or made fun of my Americanness (at least not to my face). Soon I was immersed in the bizarre world of the Footlights, with big musical numbers and sketches covering everything from unrequited love to weirdly specific curses to unexpected encounters at JFK’s assassination.

Truly so many spreadsheets - Google Sheets should get an assistant producer credit

I became involved in the process when sketches were still being written and revised by the writer-performers, and getting to see some of the works in progress and jokes in gestation has been an immense privilege. I’ve watched the material grow from embryonic ideas to beautiful baby sketches and then watched those sketches take their first wobbly steps on stage and grow into their confidence until they were finally ready to leave the directors’ hands. Maybe I’m extending this show-as-child metaphor a bit too far… but though the process has been long and intense, it has truly been a labour of love. One upside of working on a sketch show is there’s never any shortage of laughter to make the time pass more quickly!

Maria Woodford

The rehearsals have been madness—interrupted by fire alarms and by a wandering Trinity porter who was hopefully not too traumatised by what he saw in the room to be turned off comedy for good. But countless revisions, rehearsals, and so many spreadsheets later (truly so many spreadsheets—Google Sheets should get an assistant producer credit), we have finally assembled a show. So much credit is due to the insanely talented production team and technical team for helping make the zany ideas a reality, creating beautiful phones and glorious light displays for the set and helping flesh out the soundscape of crossed wires and jumbled-up phone lines.


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I may be a bit biased, but Spring Revue is a must-see for even casual comedy fans – it’s a chance to see the graduating Footlights perform their best onstage before they go on to great success in the dramatic arts (or sell out and pursue careers as investment bankers). Working on Spring Revue has been an absolute dream come true, and I wouldn’t even mind staying on hold with a customer service representative for an excruciatingly long time if it meant getting to keep working with the Footlights a little longer.

2020 Footlights Spring Revue: Crossed Wires is on at the ADC Theatre from 18th to the 22nd February.

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