The only reason I acceded to my headmaster’s arm-twisting to attempt the Cambridge entrance exam was that I might have stood a chance of getting into the Footlights. Over its many years, the Footlights have developed a well-earned as a crucible of original and brilliant comedic talent from Monty Python via Fry and Laurie to The Inbetweeners - and now most latterly incarnated in the class of 2011’s Edinburgh offering Pretty Little Panic.
The barrel-vaulted auditorium and black set offer no clues to the content. Four guys in white shirts and black jeans with big shoes to fill. No pressure, then.
The genius of Pretty Little Panic is the way in which the last line of a sketch sparks the first of the next, and the pace never drops. This would be individous if all you remembered was the technique, but Chain Gang, Liberal Parents, and the Truth Spoon sketches ensure you’ll carry away much more from this tight and almost impeccably performed show.
It’s always fun to guess which of a Footlights cast could have a stage career beyond Uni: Adam Lawrence’s rubber-legged physicality might make him a good cover for Lee Evans, but it’s Ben Ashenden who stands out with potential for a combined stand-up, acting and car insurance career in the mould of Chris Addison.
There’s a long tradition of Edinburgh Fringe reviewers spunking stars up the wall in order to be bylined on the posters – but what the hell, this is so far beyond four that as long as you spell my name right, it’s a definite five.