I have never seen a perfect sketch show, and the Cambridge Footlights provided no exception. However, there were some sketches which displayed such true originality and creativity, it made up for any shortcomings in the show.
My curiosity had already been piqued by the ‘reference cards’ placed on every person’s chair. The cards did not come into use until much later in the show, but it was well worth the wait. The result was hilarious and very smart, and acts as a perfect example of how innovative the foursome are in creating their sketches.
There were various recurring sketches which, for me, were some of the most successful, even though they were dragging the same concept out. It is a testament to their ingenuity that they managed to find so many different takes on each theme. For example, the ‘machine that can predict your death’ never grew old, and gave each member a chance to shine whilst they acted out multiple hysterical and improbable deaths. Meanwhile, the surreal meta-comedy provided whenever they silently donned animal masks was intriguing and added a whole different flavour to the show. The way in which they could incorporate quite sophisticated comedy constructs such as these with effective methods of audience participation, as well as impressive fully-mimed sketches (look out for Rosa Robson’s sketch with a piece of string) shows amazing versatility.
However, as with many sketch shows, there were often issues with closing each scene effectively, or indeed ending the whole show. I felt that the set needed a more explosive or decisive ending - or even perhaps a final reference to the confusing title, Canada, which seemed to be brought up gratuitously every now and then. However, despite the occasional lapses, this show offers a lot of diversity and a lot of laughs, with some truly remarkable acting, particularly from the highly talented Emma Sidi, whose range of characters, facial expressions, and even dance moves was extraordinary.