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Review: Washed Up

A whacky and whimsical night which you may fancy


Never did I think I would see the day where Jane Eyre was a gun-slinging baddie, or as the Footlights aptly dubbed her, “one kick-ass motherfucker”. Filled with a sense of whimsy and randomness, the Footlights presented to Cambridge: Washed Up. I laughed, I smirked, I chuckled, at one point I even guffawed. A two-hour sketch show is no easy task, but I am happy to say the Footlights certainly pulled it off in stellar fashion.

Set on a deserted island in which the Footlights cast have been shipwrecked on their way back from a world tour, the gang decide to perform their sketches to pass the time. With some sketches being related to the theme of Washed Up (one part to do with a desert island shipwreck, and the other part to do with cutlery), most sketches deviated from these constraints. Whilst this may not appeal to the more dogmatic viewer who sees the title Washed Up, and DEMANDS sketches relating to this nature, I appreciated the diverse array of sketches. Stand-out routines included a riveting commentary on skate culture (or poser culture), where “skateboarder” (Miranda Evans) was interviewed about her art, William Boyce’s Borat impression that was executed very nicely (sorry), which I did not expect to see in 2024, and a recurring gag where Diya Shah repeatedly misunderstands the nature of social situations. For instance, bringing a lute to a looting, mistaking exorcising for exercising, and bringing her affair to the fair. As a first year Engling, I could not help but revel in the increasingly chaotic nature of these puns.

Image Credits: @cambridgefootlights via Instagram

As a matter of fact, “chaotic” is perhaps the best word I can use to sum up last night’s show. Whether the chaos which ensued in yesterday’s performance was intentional, I honestly cannot tell. With one of the microphones repeatedly drooping downwards in its rather flimsy clip, the keyboard failing to work for one of the songs, and Boyce’s inability to stop corpsing on stage, the show did not seem to be going as initially planned. Although, I would argue that this did not remove any of the humour or laughs which the Footlights had promised to deliver. As they say, the show must go on, and indeed it did. Lily Blundell continued singing alongside Declan Boyd despite her precariously-positioned microphone; as she lowered her head more and more to match the mic’s angle, Rhys Griffths yelled “WE’RE GOING ACAPELLA!!” as he and Blundell had to deal with the malfunctioning keyboard, and hell, Boyce’s giggling fits were so infectious, the audience, with myself included, could not help but laugh with him.

However, some sketches did leave something to be desired, often ending abruptly and disappointingly without a punchline. This included a routine about a heist where budget cuts had lead to the hiring of mimes, and a two sharks watching telly whilst dishing out shark based puns. While I don’t disapprove of cheeky bit of wordplay, the sketch itself felt oversaturated with puns, and lacked the abrupt and chaotic nature which brought the most laughs in other segments of the show. Often, I was left wondering whether there was more to a sketch, as the gang packed up their chairs to prepare the staging for the next, thus leading to some sections of the night feeling rushed.

However, some sketches did leave something to be desired, often ending abruptly and disappointingly without a punchline. This included a routine about a heist where budget cuts had lead to the hiring of mimes, and a two sharks watching telly whilst dishing out shark based puns. While I don’t disapprove of cheeky bit of wordplay, the sketch itself felt oversaturated with puns, and lacked the abrupt and chaotic nature which brought the most laughs in other segments of the show. Often, I was left wondering whether there was more to a sketch, as the gang packed up their chairs to prepare the staging for the next, thus leading to some sections of the night feeling rushed.

3.5/5

Washed Up is showing at the ADC from Wednesday 21st – Saturday 24th February. Buy your tickets here.