Comedy; GIG OF THE WEEK

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The Independent Culture
Cambridge Footlights 9 - 12 Sept

Connaught Theatre, Worthing 9 & 10 Sept (01903 235333)

Uppingham Theatre

11 & 12 Sept (01572 823 318) It has become a summer sport as popular as cricket to slag off the Cambridge Footlights. Arthur Smith, the uncrowned king of Edinburgh, spoke for many when he said back in 1996: "I don't hate them for it. It was the Cambridge Footlights, and it's their job to be shit." Which makes it all the more surprising that this year's show, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", is actually pretty good. Although it contains the medical/bodily functions sketch without which no student revue would be complete, the majority of the show exudes exuberance. Under the imaginative direction of Cal McCrystal from Peepolykus, the troupe performs some sparklingly energetic ensemble set pieces, including a hopeless four-man acrobatic troupe which is trying in vain to conceal the rather obvious fact that one of its members is a corpse. And the good news is, there is not a single song about punting or cucumber sandwiches.

PUNCHLINES

Stay Alive Pepi

Rhys Thomas, Steven Burge and Tony Way - performers in the sketch show, Stay Alive Pepi - come highly rated by Bob Mortimer, who called them "the funniest thing I've seen in years". Veterans of TVs Shooting Stars and The Fast Show, they play a diverse range of characters from Billy Bollocks, a much put-upon teenager, to the Welsh Pimps, a pair of redundant miners. The Wildman Room, Assembly, Edinburgh (0131-226 2428) tonight 11.15pm

Oz.Dot.Comedy

Aussie comedians such as Mark Little and Bob Downe have done well over here. A new wave is now surfing in for Oz.Dot.Comedy. Check out whether the well-regarded trio of Carl Barron, Matt Sutherland and Adam Richard - who have come over from Sydney and Melbourne "in one suitcase" - will turn out to be the new Barry Humphries or the next Paul Hogan. Edinburgh Suite, Assembly, Edinburgh (0131-226 2428) tonight 9.50pm

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