Footlights Spring Revue 2012: Donors

Tue 28th February – Sat 3rd March 2012

reviews

Divya R

at 11:46 on 29th Feb 2012

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The Spring Revue is extremely varied, featuring a smorgasboard of characters from dating gurus to fruit smugglers to man-spiders to Keanu Reeves. Though the acts were wide-ranging, they did have some overarching themes and memes to tie them together. The Random Acts of Kindness Goblin, the Baron, and lionade all made several appearances throughout the show. And the writers depicted these scenes as memories of various witnesses to a certain incident, a tragic accident leading to the brain damage of Brian. Brian brain is a conglomeration of bits and pieces of others’ neural tissue (think Rob Schneider in The Animal), and so his unconscious flits through the memories of others. This was a clever way to showcase a variety of unrelated acts while still allowing the audience to follow an overarching plot. There was a bit of over-reliance on Jess Peet’s old lady voice (it’s very good, but there was too much of it), but the show overall had an impressive range and scope.

Highlights included the man-spider, the hilarious mime battle, a conversation on a submarine, and a ransom letter read by two kidnapped children. While many scenes were less funny than these, the acting was superb. The actors carried many scenes that would not have gotten laughs without their perfectly timed delivery. Additionally, it was clear that the show was well-rehearsed from the well-timed transitions. Each transition featured the actors moving in a perfectly synchronized manner, and the impeccably timed lighting also ensured that scenes seamlessly blended together. The use of music was also great; the song choice was impeccable, particularly the Ben Folds version of “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and the competitive lyrics that highlighted the mime battle.

While the show had great acting, lighting, sound, and a lot of variety, a lot of the scenes were unfortunately just not very funny. While some of the scenes were clever and unexpected (every reference to a certain hilarious type of gloves, for example, had me absolutely hysterical), much of the humor was predictable. If they had cut down the show by half, they would have had an hour of great comedy. But as it was, the show lacked consistency, and the ending that presumably could have tied it all together, sadly, just didn’t make any sense.

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Joseph Chidera

at 11:58 on 29th Feb 2012

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The Footlights Spring Revue will perform this week to packed houses, as it should, because the content of the show is varied and provides many opportunities for light laughter and the occasional outburst of loud laughter. Overall however, it does not reach the level of comedic excellence that I was hoping and willing it to as the evening panned out.

What really made this show was the high level of acting from all of the cast members. Lowell Belfield was particularly adept at depicting the more odd characters while Ryan O'Sullivan excelled at bringing humour out of his naturalistic reactions to the sketches. James Bloor and Jess Peet were both good at sketches which required more physical comedy; this was shown in a marvellous miming battle between the two performers, while Lucie Shorthouse shone with the diversity of characters she played and the conviction with which she portrayed each of them. Jack Gamble stood out for the great delivery of his punch lines. Though many of his lines could have been more difficult to convey as part of their humour lay in them being said slightly faster, he delivered them with clarity and great timing. To complete the cast Saul Boyer made his mark through his high-quality portrayal of the more arrogant, oblivious and downright ridiculous characters.

Two particularly funny sketches to look out for are about the making of a ransom tape for two children taken hostage and another about the conservation of pandas which makes a hilarious reference to the Chinese holding of American debt. Despite the occasional first-rate sketch, however, most of the others were often only mildly funny with endings that erred closer to the side of predictability than not. A small number of sketches even left me slightly squirming as I tried to see the humour in them. The overarching narrative of a man who had had a revolutionary transplant of brain tissues, which provide the memories that lead us to the sketches, however was quite weak and did not make for a very coherent underlying storyline.

On the whole the show does not reach the high level of comedic brilliance that one would hope to experience in one of the main Footlights shows of the year, nevertheless it is by no means a bad show either. Anyone who was quick enough to snag themselves a ticket will still enjoy an evening of fun and laughter, just not as much side splitting laughter as perhaps hoped for.

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