Dressing Down Gilded Balloon

Three young men dressed in Harry Potter robes stand on stage with what they describe as a “Magic Wardrobe” and on either side of the stage are two racks full of clothes. The three are Alex MacKeith, Harry Michell and Ben Pope, writers of the Cambridge Footlights Spring Revue 2013, heirs to such prestigious previous luminaries as John Cleese, Graeme Chapman, Stephen Fry and many others, so our expectations are already high. The flyer promises us 60 costume changes in 60 mins so we are ready for anything but can they deliver? I’m pleased to report they do not disappoint and what follows is a very funny and fast moving series of quick-fire sketches, with a host of characters and those lightning costume changes.

The Magic Wardrobe forms the slender link between the sketches and also acts as an entrance, exit and changing room. There is a constant stream of activity on and off stage as the different characters come and go at breakneck speed. There is an endearingly home-made and amateur feel to it as you wonder if they will make the next cue on time and in the right costume but, make no mistake, this is well rehearsed and the few slipups just add to the overall chaotic hilarity. It is also cleverly written and there is a good mix of humour ranging from the Pythonesque biblical game show and execution skit to the surreal duelling snails to good old fashioned slapstick and corny punchlines. There are so many characters I couldn’t keep count of them all but the mermaid, the astronaut and the hungry caterpillar come to mind. There is also some audience participation and a running Black Swan gag throughout which works very well. If any of the skits didn’t quite come off or work so well, it didn’t matter as another one was there before you could draw breath and there was something to keep everyone amused.

The Cambridge Footlights name is obviously a draw and they have been attracting packed houses. However, these guys are obviously talented and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of them in the future.

Irene Brownlee