I’m not entirely sure where the title of the show came from, as love handles are never mentioned or a part of any of the sketches that The Cambridge Footlights perform but, frankly, it doesn’t matter. The show could be called practically anything and it would sell, considering the mammoth reputation of the group; a reputation which is well lived up to in this year’s series of sketches.
The jokes come thick and fast, so much so that the punch line is more the icing on the cake than the highlight of the sketch.
From fantastic impressions, ranging from Brian Cox to Ed Miliband, to a short musical set in the Wild West, this talented group of performers bring to life a series of original and clever sketches with wit and warmth. Several of these are woven together into a loose plot; a meteor is about to strike Earth and end life as we know it, and this is being reported on by a radio DJ. Although this plot is brilliantly concluded at the close of the show, for the most part the sketches stand on their own, with any connection to the plot as a happy and unexpected bonus.
The show as a whole strikes a good balance between longer and shorter sketches, with sketches such as the Wild West musical or the Michael Gove speech interspersed with shorter sketches with a quicker punch line, or none at all – such as the mimed shaving sketch or the sketch in which 18th century and modern styles of dance are contrasted.
This is not to say that the longer sketches drag; on the contrary, the jokes come thick and fast, so much so that the punch line is more the icing on the cake than the highlight of the sketch. A notable example of this is the sketches where the performers parody figures such as Michael Gove or Brian Cox, with their impressions as hilarious, if not more so, than the sketch itself.
The sketches that feature original characters are the cleverest of the lot, however, such as the dream sequence featuring the memorable Snotty Pierre, or the emperor Edgar who attempts to implement ironic punishments on criminals. In these, as in all of their sketches, the performers work fantastically well together, at one point even working out a small line mistake through a quick bit of in-character improvisation. It is clear, from the opening news reports to the final song about the awkward job interview, that this is one student sketch show you don’t want to miss.