The tone was deeply unserious, and this is what made it enjoyableMichael Elizabeth with permission for Varsity

What’s that coming over the hill? It’s another ADC comedy late! This time, Britfoot: the search for Bigfoot’s British cousin, a certified ‘slippery bastard’. The basic premise: Terry Tucker (James Allen), a self-made monster hunter, goes viral and gets a TV deal. He is more motivated than ever to fulfil his ambition of finding the Gene Genie monster, but the influence of an unscrupulous studio head (Mia Da Costa) and chirpy American co-host Ruby Hunter (Izzy Driscoll) redirects his show’s focus to finding Britfoot, Ruby’s personal ambition. Terry experiences a spectacular fall from grace, before finally reconciling his contempt for Britfoot.

As comprehensible as that overall synopsis might seem, it was often quite tricky to figure out what was going on in Britfoot. It had the disparate energy of a sketch show, taking on odd diversions as seen in Pierre’s (Blake Garance) expressions of deep sexual desire for Britfoot. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure who Pierre was (the network’s artistic consultant? Just some guy?), and I don’t think this was entirely on me. It was all just very random; I also seem to recall ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ being discussed at length and that Terry’s assistant Carol was bludgeoned to death.

“It had the disparate energy of a sketch show”

Whilst this randomness wasn’t always a bad thing - Garance, for instance, was great as Pierre, as were Isaac Tompkinson and Helen Brookes as, of all people, Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid - the lack of a conventionally paced plot meant that the show became a little boring. The prospect of a clear end point wasn’t there to motivate the audience’s attention and I found myself glancing at my watch in the last twenty minutes or so.

“The humour was in watching the cast grapple with the ridiculous scenarios they were written into, rather than in the writing itself”

Despite this, Britfoot was a good watch because it knew what it wanted to be. The tone was deeply unserious and this is what made it enjoyable. Even in its weaker moments, such as Britfoot’s interview on Good Morning Britain (a relatively funny premise which wore off quickly - the joke ‘look! Richard Madeley!’ can only sustain itself for so long) the cast exuded a humorous self-awareness which saved the show from becoming cringeworthy. The humour was in watching the cast grapple with the ridiculous scenarios they were written into, rather than in the writing itself. Credit in this aspect has to be given to Britfoot himself (Isaac Tompkinson and Will Boyce, apparently). The presence of a guy in a full gorilla suit - variously roaming the audience, dealing coke and appearing on Strictly and Love Island - tested the cast’s ability to stay in character, to hilarious effect.


Mountain View

Arcadia is far from chaotic

There were some wonderful lines, too. Ruby’s dynamic entrance (‘I’m Ruby Hunter, but I ain’t hunting no rubies’) got a huge laugh, as did Terry’s catchphrase, ‘the beast is on the chase’ (or, after his producer’s copyright intervention, ‘the hamster is on the wipeout’). I’ve also got ‘coyotes released by youths in a fit of underage drinking’ written in my notes; like a lot of Britfoot, the context of this entirely escapes me, but it sums up the show’s energy pretty well.

Britfoot is showing at the ADC Theatre from Wednesday 25th January to Saturday 27th January.