Sketch comedy group visits CMU

The Cambridge Footlights’ performance was well-received by the audience. (credit: Alex Webster/) The Cambridge Footlights’ performance was well-received by the audience. (credit: Alex Webster/)

The Cambridge Footlights, a sketch comedy group from Cambridge University in England, performed its show “Perfect Strangers” in McConomy Auditorium last Friday. The Footlights, founded in 1883, is known for having launched the careers of some well-known names in comedy, including John Cleese, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

“Perfect Strangers,” sponsored and hosted by Scotch’n’Soda, featured five members of the troupe — Emma Powell, Pierre Novellie, George Pots, Phil Wang, and Jason Forbes — performing in a series of increasingly interrelated skits. And there was nothing dry in this flavor of British humor; skits dealt with subjects ranging from the personal lives of Ken and Barbie to a film adaptation of the board game Monopoly.

“Perfect Strangers” had a broad theme of being interconnected. Between quick transitory fadeouts to a darkened stage, recurring characters and plots would emerge in new skits, slowly completing a series of absurd, interwoven comical narratives. A wide range of comedic styles was represented in these acts, including physical comedy, dark humor, and parody.

The performers had spot-on delivery and put on an energetic and consistently hilarious act. The most memorable skits involved characters who made appearances in multiple skits, and skits that were more absurd. One skit, for example, involved a man who stumbled into Utopia, a seemingly perfect world that hid a dark secret.

Another notable skit included an alien hunter who used a stick to hit men’s nether regions in an attempt to find the extraterrestrials that killed his wife.

Many skits included the use of the “time phone,” a magical phone that could call people from the past and future. Carolyn Supinka, a senior Bachelors of Humanities and Arts student, said, “[My friends and I] loved the telephone skit. We’ve seen the show since we were freshmen, so we knew it was going to be good.”

Reactions from the crowd seemed exceedingly positive. Throughout the show, audience members were howling with laughter and cheers. Nadia Sheen, a senior in biology, said, “It was great. It was witty, it was clever, and it was fun to watch.”

Overall, the show was a resounding success. It is easy to see the incredible amount of comedic talent that resides within the Footlights.