The cast of The Search Continues, this year's International Footlights Tour ShowNicola Irvine with permission for Varsity

Canoeing with your dad. Running into an estate agent’s cat. Reflecting on the difficulties of sealing an envelope. The five cast members behind the 2023 Cambridge Footlights International Tour Show have 125 combined Camdram credits, and they’ve just finished their week of performing at the ADC Theatre. Up next: trimming their show to 60 minutes for touring around the UK and America. As an avid sketch comedian myself — though not nearly the calibre of these five touring comics — I wanted to sit down with the cast to find out what brought them to comedy, how they found themselves joining the Footlights tour, and what the masses can expect from the show that bills itself as the funniest Footlights production of the year.

Izzie H-P, attempting to discover a new species of bug perhaps?Nicola Irvine with permission for Varsity

Izzie H-P is a graduating ASNaC student at Corpus Christi who has previously created, written, and performed in shows such as Horrible Herstories and LEECH!. “The 2019 Footlights Tour Show was the first sketch show I saw in Cambridge,” they told me. “I remember how much it inspired me to get involved in comedy.” They plan to stick with comedy for the long run: “my Plan A is to keep writing and performing comedy for both stage and screen. Plan B is to discover a new species of bug, sell it to the Royal Society, and make millions. Honestly, my money is on Plan B.” I’d have to respectfully disagree after having seen a few sketches for this preview, including a folk song replete with Southern American accents. With Izzie’s natural energy and confident demeanour on stage, I’d put money on their Plan A.

Joy Adeogun insists you should see the show "because I'm in it and I'm hot"Nicola Irvine with permission for Varsity

Joy Adeogun just finished reading English at Murray Edwards and describes her comedy style as “boisterous, rude, and ridiculous.” Joy distinguishes herself in the comedy scene with her “joyness,” she explains — “it’s a vibe, it’s a way of life, it’s a movement.” She wrote and directed The Melanin Monologues earlier this academic year and previously featured as Topsy Turvy in the 2021 Pantomime, Rapunzel. She has her sights set on a future filled with creating new and exciting work for the screen and stage: “Michaela Coel is a big inspiration to me, and I would love to come out with my own one-woman play.” She certainly has the chops, having written, directed, performed in, and produced a myriad of shows during her time in Cambridge. So, why should someone come to see the tour show? “Because I’m in it and I’m hot,” she responded. Can’t argue with that.

Libby Thornton uses her "rubber face" to her fullest in her comedyNicola Irvine with permission for Varsity

Libby Thornton is currently pursuing a MSt in Writing for Performance and has been performing comedy in Cambridge since 2019. Libby actually attended the 2019 Footlights Tour Show with Izzie, and the experience of not being able to breathe because she was laughing so much at the show compelled her to get into comedy and create shows that would have the same impact on her audiences. She débuted her solo comedy show, Libby-Come-Lately, which featured her signature approach to comedy: bold characters. “I’ve been told I have a bit of a rubber face, and I make full use of this during my comedy.” Her comedy has received a warm reception, leading her to think about pursuing comedy and acting long-term. “I want to do a bit of a Daisy May Cooper/Phoebe Waller-Bridge type career,” she told me, “so definitely nothing too ambitious.”

Dan Patten claimed he was a jester for Queen LizNicola Irvine with permission for Varsity

Dan Patten studies History and Politics at Clare and describes comedy as a mindset and energy that he adopts for his performances. The rest of our interview centered on his work as a clown and court jester; he cited the work of Stefanos Bringle-Brunk (sadly absent from any Google search results) and claimed he was a jester as a small boy for Queen Elizabeth, who supposedly paid him in chicken feet. He’s particularly enthusiastic about the tour show: “this is the crème de la crème of aristocratic japery. You don’t get better clowning anywhere else.” Although he has a long (and dubious) history in clowning behind him, he’s planning on pivoting into filmmaking for his future career. Frankly, I was too impressed by his commitment to the clown bit to press him for more details.

Jemima Langdon is looking to educate on important issues through her theatreNicola Irvine with permission for Varsity

Jemima Langdon is also at Clare and just completed her degree in law. She enjoys writing physical and fast-paced comedy, and alongside Izzie and Libby, she helped bring Horrible Herstories to life (and to the 2022 Ed Fringe). “I had such a great time at the Fringe last year, and I knew I wanted to have the opportunity to learn and grow from that experience to create a completely different sketch show.” She seems keen to continue her acting and comedy beyond Cambridge: “currently, I just want to write plays, short pieces, and comedy, and do as much acting as I can.” After a bit of reflection, she continues, “the ultimate goal would be to set up a touring theatre company for new writing, to tell stories that should be told, and to use theatre — and comedy — to educate on important issues through the medium of theatre.”


Mountain View

Footlights tour: Are We There Yet? is above all, funny

I asked the cast what other sketches they could tell me about — and got some wild answers in response. “It’s giving yoga, it’s giving 90s workout class, it’s giving ‘I hate you, Daddy,’” said Joy. Izzie wasn’t so quick to divulge the team’s secrets, but responded, “this show has the potential to be pretty… hypnotic.”

Jemima swooped in to save me from my confusion. “All five of us are having an absolute blast up on stage,” she said. “Hopefully, that means the audience will have a blast, too.”

The Cambridge Footlights International Tour Show 2023: The Search Continues played at the ADC Theatre from 20–24 July. Future tour dates in London, Brighton, Bristol, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and the US can be found here