Footlights Spring Revue 2016: Chocolate Moose

Tue 23rd – Sat 27th February 2016

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 22:55 on 23rd Feb 2016

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Chocolate Moose is a sketch show which leaps from moon landings to Thunderbirds to theatrical agent-hunting to unlikely headlines to gang crime, treating each and every subject with an eye for the bizarre and slightly anarchic. The sketches were fantastically varied, and always side-splitting. In spite of a slightly disappointing lack of female performers (of the nine who appeared onstage, Rosanna Suppa was the lone woman), Chocolate Moose was highly successful, and thoroughly enjoyable.

The curtains opened on a stage decorated with an elaborately painted alpine backdrop, and several large trees hovering towards the back. This decor was very occasionally relevant, but more often not at all, something which didn't seem to bother anyone in particular, although did later become the punch line of a very short-lived joke. The audience were immediately launched into a first act of rapid-fire, offbeat sketches, starting with a scene reflecting on the achievements of Michael Collins, the man who did not walk on the moon. This was followed by porter attacks, surprise birthday parties, and 'laundrettes', to name a tantalising few. This first act ended with a great sketch which started out as opportunistic agent-hunting from Theo Wethered and quickly degenerated into a dance number, leaving the audience begging for more going into the interval.

The second act of Chocolate Moose was weirder and more surreal, and featured some real gems in its sketch line up.

Towards the beginning the audience were treated to a particularly bizarre offering detailing exactly what all your teachers are talking about when they tell you not to swing back on your chair, with the added bonus of featuring a high pitched dinosaur-scream from a psychotic, club-wielding Michael Gove.

Another highlight was the 'smoking on stage' sketch, which took full advantage of the licence's apparent stipulation that any smoking onstage be artistically justified and not gratuitous. The 'Dinner's ready' sketch was perhaps the most effective of the whole show, and it had the audience laughing raucously, and also at times gasping and groaning with how very close to the bone it dared to cut. This was excellent, and in spite of its biting humour, the jokes managed to stay on the right side of mean.

The show ended on a high with a delightful and heart-warming, although slightly incomprehensibly placed rendition of the cake-eating scene from that somewhat sinister children's favourite, Matilda. It's hard to say why they chose to end here - perhaps merely to let Sam Grabiner have a slightly disgusting and completely hilarious turn as Miss Trunchbull. The writing in this show was erratic and varied as ever the Footlights were. Although it would have been nice to have more female performers involved, it was a great success. The applause following Chocolate Moose lingered as long as an audience dares in the ADC Theatre. This sketch show had everyone in stitches.

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