Lagoon: The Cambridge Footlights International Tour Show 201

Tue 7th – Sat 18th June 2016

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 15:47 on 16th Jun 2016

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The 2016 Footlights Tour Show, Lagoon, is a delightful work-in-progress delivering fresh new sketches which seem very promising and will no doubt improve and change over the course of this show's mammoth run. Although some sketches feel as though they're still in the final stages of development, there is plenty of fun to be had, and I'm seriously considering booking a ticket to see Lagoon again in October, to see how it's come along.

The cast and creators of this show have put together a wide and varied array of sketches which allow the performers' individual talents to be showcased: everyone in the cast pulls their weight. Rob Oldham is excellent in one of the opening sketches as a pretentious music-store worker, doing his best to sell a beginner's guitar to a thirteen-year-old. Jordan Mitchell does a brilliant job narrating the surprisingly sophisticated thoughts of a boy in a Batman costume at his 8th birthday. Sam Grabiner was a surprisingly intense and determined conker, complete with papier-mâché shell. Guy Emmanuel is often the odd man of the group, being implicated in no less than two murders, and being held responsible for soundtrack issues, and Sarah Creedy Smith was great as a hapless Nike employee who turns the tables by harnessing that most irritating of slogans: just do it.

Some of the sketches however seemed to need a little more development, coming across as promising read-throughs rather than polished performances. One piece featuring a realistically mundane Go-Pro film has lots of potential but seems to drag on a little long, and become a little laboured, producing far fewer laughs than some of the other material on offer. This doesn't seem to be a problem inherent to the sketch itself, but is perhaps linked to its slightly subdued delivery - the two characters onstage could perhaps be more animated.

Others however are magnificent already. I especially enjoyed a sketch involved two one-man-band men, talking over the perils and pitfalls of their line of business, adorned of course with plenty of incidental clanging and wheezing from their wearable orchestras. Another sketch featured the conversation at a sleepover after lights out, with the important question of the absolute latest anyone had stayed up being discussed. The explanation of what midnight is actually like once you've seen it ("it was tomorrow... but today") resonated particularly deeply in my still-foggy brain, recovering from its very first May Ball.

There was, inevitably, a degree of audience participation (and therefore peril) to this show, but it was handled very well by both writers and cast, used in ways which stopped it from ever becoming embarrassing or unkind to those concerned. One of these instances was a joke involving the between-sketch soundtrack for the show, and managed to avoid both compromising an audience member, and requiring a stooge. The second instance, the very successful sketch which wound up the show, was also kind on its audience, going far enough to be fun, but elegantly refraining from stepping much further.

Lagoon is every bit the fun night out you can expect from the Footlights. It has an array of unique sketches on subjects as diverse as tennis, parkour, job interviews and Old Testament mythology. Although some aspects of it still seem somewhat in development, I strongly suspect that Lagoon will, like a fine wine, mature into a triumphant and incredibly strong show by the time it makes it back to Cambridge in October.

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