Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist (Assembly George Square Gardens: Aug 19 – 25 : 21:00: 1hr)

“A gem of the surreal comedy scene.”

Editorial Rating: 4 Stars: Nae Bad

My consumption of Tom Lenk’s work, like many, is limited to his appearances on the small screen. His time as Andrew the reformed(ish) demon-maker-turned-sidekick in Buffy the Vampire Slayer definitely earned him a place in my heart, but that sells him short. He’s made appearances on the Broadway stage, is a playwright in his own right, and now (most importantly) the Edinburgh Fringe, in a show whose brief is impossible not to take a second look at.

Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist is one of the most successfully surreal Fringe shows I’ve ever seen. The title both sums it up entirely, and fails spectacularly to capture anything of its substance at all. The premise itself sounds like the setup for a joke: a struggling, suicidal young man (writer Byron Lane) gets a knock on the door, and it’s Tilda Swinton. Everything unfolds from this single origin point, and blooms out in absurd fractals from there.

Don’t be fooled, though. From the moment Lenk arrives onstage as Swinton, that absurdity has justification. As the marketing may suggest, Lenk’s performance is the main event, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Lenk’s Swinton is so unconventionally charming that it’s hard to describe. It’s almost like the cubist version of charisma. Whether blowing in like a winter storm at a bag factory or whispering sweet nothings to an espresso machine, Lenk captivates a crowd like no other. It’s true spectacle, and well worth the price of admission.

This is not, however, a one man show. Walt, Swinton’s project and the main audience touchpoint, is a fine element of grounding in a show that could easily lose its feet. He does a very good job of playing constant foil to Lenk’s fifth-dimensional grandeur, and his puppydog appeal is undeniable – though, occasionally his delivery slipped from “sad and confused” to “disinterested”. Whilst in other shows this might slide, when playing on the same stage as a mad swan-lady from the nth dimension, it shows. As a writer, Lane should be incredibly proud not only of the task he’s undertaken, but the tightness of his script. The joke density is intimidatingly thick, and some sections feel as if the laughs are built in wall-to-wall.

Mark Jude Sullivan fits in perfectly to the heightened reality at both ends of the pole, pulling double duty as self-obsessed Bobby and Walt’s whitebread father. His quiet turmoil later in the show, oddly, is one of the most compelling emotive moments simply due to its relative silence. Opposite him is Jayne Entwhistle, whose portrayal of Walt’s mother is a pitch perfect rendition of the middle-American mom. However, I must particularly praise her as Wanda the line chef, a blink-and-you-miss-it character who (surprisingly) had some of the best lines and delivery of the entire show.

As a comedy, it’s hard to want more from Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist. Though (as is usual) a few jokes drag beyond their apex of funniness, it’s a tightly written and directed piece of absurdist theatre that knows exactly how to work its material. However, there’s an emotive undercurrent beneath the laughs, and it’s there that the show stumbles. Though by the end everything ties into a fairly satisfying pathos, the emotive content of the first half feels vestigial and undercooked compared to the piece’s stronger elements. Whilst certainly not a traditionally dramatic show by any means, it nevertheless lacked the emotional foundation needed to turn what is (admittedly) a great show into an outstanding one. That is perhaps the greatest frustration of director Tom Detrini’s work, which constantly teases at perfection but never holds it hard enough to stick.

Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist is a gem of the surreal comedy scene, and very much one to catch while you can. Lenk is a tour-de-force as Swinton, and worth every since flouncing, strange moment. You might not be able to explain what you’ve seen afterwards, but I can guarantee you’ll feel positively about it.

nae bad_blue

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Jacob Close  (Seen 18 August)

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It’s True It’s True It’s True (Underbelly Bristo Square: Aug 16-25: 13:00: 1 hr)

“A deliriously engaging hour that combines essential social commentary, historical document, and top-notch courtroom drama.”

Editorial Rating: 4 Stars: Outstanding

The Edinburgh Fringe offers many delightful kinds of attractions one could find in few other places; food, drink, venues, performances, people, et cetera. Perhaps the most exciting of them all, as I was reminded while watching Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, is ideas. This production, while also filled with outstanding craft from top to bottom, breathes life into one of the most singularly creative ideas this festival has to offer.

Directed by Billy Barrett, and ‘written’ by Barrett and Ellice Stevens, this show demands to be taken as an essential piece of theatre. I say ‘written,’ because the script is translated verbatim from the real-life transcripts of a 1612 trial in Rome. The trial in question concerned whether pompous socialite Agostino Tassi had raped budding painter Artemisia Gentileschi (who went on to garner wide praise, success, and notoriety later in her life), and here lies the first inspired idea within Barrett and Stevens’ project. The transcript, translated from Latin and Italian, is an utterly fascinating document, considering what it implies about the sensibilities of the time surrounding status, sexuality, truth, lies, legacy, misogyny, and more. Of course, without needing to labor the point at all, Breach Theatre’s piece makes it quite clear that the conversations spoken back then about consent, assault, and accusations of unacceptable male behavior are hauntingly similar to ones the modern world has faced with increasing frequency over the last few years. One may find it at times difficult to believe the verbatim transcripts could include parallels so blatant as the moments where Tassi, arrogant and dismissive of the proceedings through and through, directly echoes the word of infamously accused men: “she’s not my type,” “she was asking for it,” “she’s a wh*re anyway,” and so on.

To bring these disarming moments to life, Barrett has assembled a blisteringly talented trio of actors, all of whom multi-role as various judges and testifiers, and all of whom are remarkably capable of stealing a scene. Sophie Steer, as Artemisia herself, is captivating from start to finish; her Artemisia is withdrawn at times, aggressive in others, defensive when she needs to be and just the right amount of multifaceted. Kathryn Bond, who plays numerous roles but most notably the Gentileschi house’s maid Tuzia, has an electric way of performing, so that she achieves exciting, lightning-fast delivery while also mining both pathos and hilarity in the process. But it is Harriet Webb, playing Tassi with a frighteningly familiar swagger, who edges out the top spot among the three. The smarm, threat, and cunning Webb pours into her depiction of Tassi make for an uncomfortably amusing concoction; some ought to beware, however, the searing condemnation of a certain ‘yah’ accent that gets thoroughly skewered as a sonic ‘red flag.’ Overall, though Webb’s performance captivated me the most, all three performers deserve immense credit for giving this piece an electric energy and impressive momentum.

Certain choices sporadically let this momentum down, however. The show is intermittently interrupted by musical transitions, which move the story along through the seven-month trial. The first thing one might notice is that a few of these simply take so long that the pace drops noticeably; a confounding design considering the actors are clearly in place and ready to leap back into the fray, but stay still waiting for the roaring punk interludes to wrap up. The spirit of the musical choices is very understandable — Breach clearly means to imbue the show with the snarling ferocity of the mostly female punk bands they sample. However, these songs drag the viewer out of the 1612 setting perhaps a little too far, especially considering they often come after relatively tame developments in the story. Hearing Tuzia describe Artemisia’s painting habits does not quite build up the energy to warrant a face-melting scream directly afterwards, and the effect is considerably less compelling than the many brilliant elements working so well elsewhere onstage.

The other place that could use some rethinking is the ending; after the mortifying interrogation of Artemisia is finished, the play changes tack into some surreal territory which does not quite hold together with the story that proceeds it or indeed to the disjointed gig-theatre-esque grand finale. This finale, though rousing, seems rather forced, with neither the songs sung nor the visuals introduced feeling relevant to the play’s eminently laudable initial concept. 

And to reiterate, the concept is unquestionably laudable. It’s True, It’s True, It’s True is a deliriously engaging hour that combines essential social commentary, a fascinating historical document, and the nail-biting tension of a top-notch courtroom drama. I was reminded repeatedly of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1960 film La vérité, a similarly fascinating dramatization of a similar trial, albeit with a multifaceted woman (played by Brigitte Bardot) on trial instead. Both have deeply nuanced and intelligent means of uncovering bitter truths about the way women are treated both by men and by the legal system, plus some tremendous female performances. La vérité shocks one today because its depiction of society feels unsettlingly relevant considering it was made 60 years ago; the effect of It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, then, considering its dialogue was initially spoken over 400 years ago, is downright infuriating. Credit to Breach Theatre for delivering such a play, for a second round at Fringe, with all the maddening ferocity this subject provokes, and then some. 



Reviewer: Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller

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+3 Interview: Ogg ‘n’ Ugg ‘n’ Dogg

“What I am really, really looking forward to at the moment is not having to flyer every day to get an audience.”

WHO: Colin Granger: Writer, director, marketing manager

WHAT: “Hail Ogg ‘n’ Ugg! Heroes! And ta so much for inventing the dog. Don’t miss this mind-boggling tale of how two Yorkshire hunter-gatherers palled up with the wolves and saved us from doglessness. Expect flying meat bones, sabre-toothed tigers, time-travelling stick and maybe, if you’re lucky, even a pat of Dogg! Award-winning Fideri Fidera’s reet funny comic take on the amazing evolutionary process that transformed the wolf into man’s best friend and all the dogs we see in the world today. Perfect for dog lovers young and old, big and small.”

WHERE: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room (Venue 14) 

WHEN: 12:30 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

My name’s Colin Granger and I’ve been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe in various guises for the past 35 years – as director, would-be actor, playwright, producer, fringe venue manager, and programmer. I’m back this year with Theatre Fideri Fidera, a children’s touring theatre company I set up with my partner Marina and our daughter Natasha Granger in 2016. This year we have brought a play I’ve written called ‘Ugg ‘n’ Ogg ‘n’ Dogg’ What I am really, really looking forward to at the moment is not having to flyer every day to get an audience. There are just too many children’s shows on the Fringe, and with Edinburgh, schools now back, far too few kids to watch them.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

The best thing that happened for our company in the last couple of years was getting good reviews for our 2017 production, Oskar’s Amazing Adventure, and it winning the Primary Times Children’s Choice Award. This gave us a good two years on the road playing at theatres and venues all over the UK and Ireland. The best thing for myself and Marina is that after getting sidetracked for nearly 25 years founding and running the arts and entertainment venue Komedia in Brighton and Bath, we handed over our jobs to our staff so we could to spend more time on our first love, creating theatre.

Tell us about your show.

The play is set a long time ago in the fresh, sparkling new world just after the Ice Age when there were no dogs for us to be best friends with. There were wolves but we didn’t like them and they didn’t like us. But then along came Yorkshire hunter-gatherers Ogg ‘n’ Ugg to pal up with the wolves, and save us all from a life of doglessness. Audiences can expect lots of fun, flying meat bones, rapping wolves, sabre-toothed tigers, time travelling sticks, and – if they’re lucky – even a chance to pat the world’s first dog – Dogg!

I wrote the script and directed ‘Ugg ’n’ Ogg ’n’ Dogg’, but as a company, we always develop the script in workshops, rehearsals, and previews, so my original script always gets changed a lot in the process. We are premiering Ogg ‘n’ Ugg in Edinburgh and start touring in October with performances in small rural touring venues in Dorset – my favourite type of touring.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I have hardly seen a thing. After a hard day flyering all I can manage is a hot bath and an early night. I have, however, seen one four times, Swipe Right Theatre’s ‘Scream Phone’ at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose. But have to own up, that my daughter is one of the performers and co-wrote and directed the show.



+3 Interview: The First King of England in a Dress

“I auditioned for this show through Young Actors Company in Cambridge, and we performed the show in multiple locations throughout the UK.”

WHO: Izzy Dawson: Ethelred/Ethel

WHAT: “Vikings, giants and magic await you in this fun-packed historical adventure. Will Ethelred get his mum back? Why has the king turned up on his doorstep dressed like a peasant? And just why does the king want to wear the old clothes of Ethelred’s mum? Find out in this delightful adaptation of an English folk tale that’s rammed full of engaging storytelling, original music on an ancient instrument and plenty of joining in!”

WHERE: theSpaceTriplex – Studio (Venue 38) 

WHEN: 15:05 (50 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes, we could not comprehend the amount of people that would be at the festival. I was looking forward to performing, and seeing other shows as well! Fortunately, we managed to see a variety of shows, from physical theatre to improvised musicals!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

Before the Edinburgh Fringe, I was asked by my church to write and sing my own composition. I played/sung to 3 services (over 1000 people)! This was a big achievement for me because I managed to overcome my fear of judgement from others, and I loved people hearing my music!

Tell us about your show.

Our show is written and produced by Chip. Set over 1000 years ago, and it follows Ethelred’s story of finding/saving his mother alongside partner King Knut! I auditioned for this show through Young Actors Company in Cambridge, and we performed the show in multiple locations throughout the UK. Going next, we’ll be part of next years national celebration of 1000 years since Britain’s first equality law: Kingdom 1000.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I would recommend seeing a variety of genres as this covers many interesting themes! I preferred seeing improvisation shows (e.g: Showstopper is fabulous). We also saw YUCK, which is a hilarious and outgoing physical theatre show led by a full female cast.



+3 Interview: The MKC Experience

“Nothing beats supporting new talent.”

WHO: Angela Ishmael: Manager

WHAT: “After working with some of the music industry’s biggest names including Mark Ronson, Boy George and Florence + The Machine, MKC step back into the spotlight to bring a new, exciting and captivating show to Edinburgh after selling out in 2017. Expect a fully immersive musical adventure taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions and styles that will touch your hearts and leave you uplifted and inspired. Known for their passion, blend and soulful delivery, MKC’s slick and choreographed presentation, combined with a genuine connection to each other and the audience, make this the ultimate vocal experience.”

WHERE: theSpace @ Surgeons Hall – Grand Theatre (Venue 53) 

WHEN: 17:45 (70 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Happily no!

MKC performed at Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in 2017. We didn’t have a clue what to expect then! Crazy logistics trying to get nearly 30 divas – including the lads – from South London in a tiny space at the Niddry. Try getting accommodation at Festival time for all of us in one place! Let’s say we know each other intimately now – no flinching when it comes to costume changes we just get on with it! Rehearsals leading up to the run were frantic and intense, but all so very worth it in the end. Back then, the aim was to showcase MKC’s repertoire in the form of a theatre show; we wanted to bring innovation to choir performances and get audiences to really feel our passion for music. It worked. We created a real buzz, far exceeding our expectations and sold out – achieving Laurel Status if you please – all of our shows after the first day. The performance highlighted years of MKC’s harmony perfection in the form of creator and MD Mike King’s incredible arrangements.

Just how incredible? Enough for Boy George and a 150 strong NHS choir to move millions of people in a tribute to David Bowie on Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer Show, performing Mike’s arrangement of “Starman”. We had audiences cry when we sang it at the Niddry too. And we know we’ve gotcha when you cry! One thing that frightened the life out of us was the sea of flyers to wade through on the Mile alone! We didn’t realise how crucial this was to getting bums on seats! The Mercat Stage really helped to boost our seat sales; but we’ve now perfected the sort of flash-mobbing. Don’t be surprised if we pop up while you’re eating your curry!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

For us, the last 2 years have been about building on the success of our sell-out Space @ the Niddry shows in 2017. It was so gratifying to know that people out there really enjoyed our Experience and wanted more. We’ve performed extended versions of the show at the Cockpit Theatre, Greenwich Theatre and went a touch further north to the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans! We’re working on taking the show UK wide, however, that’s going to take some serious money, so fundraising will be the way forward for us. Anyone interested? We had a breath-taking experience shooting a video with Boy George and Culture Club. Popular with all MKC fans is our live concerts, and we continue to perform at clubs in the South East, Pizza Express in Holborn being a great place for us to get our groove on. We’ve supported other famed artists in the past (Angelique Kidjo, Florence Welsh) but nothing beats supporting new talent and we’ve recorded with a few stars that have amazing futures ahead of them. Preparing for this year’s festival has for us been a top priority, learning new songs and new moves for a more powerful MKC Experience.

Tell us about your show.

The show’s concept was created entirely by Mike King, with production support from all of MKC’s members, especially Zoe James who quite frankly is a genius at getting us to move anywhere in time! As a vocalist, it’s always a pleasure to be able to realise your MD’s vision, but with Mike, it’s an absolute privilege. We’ve had 8 years of being able to sing some of the most complex harmonies that only his talent can create. Very lucky. If you want to see a traditional, 4-row choir with choral sheets and robes, don’t come and see us! We’re not your typical choir – that’s why we call ourselves a vocal collective. MKC is not a Community choir either; as much as we have fun and enjoy singing we are semi-professional vocalists that can bust a tune! Everyone could give Adele and ‪Ed Sheeran‬ a run for their money – we just love to do it together.

We’ve got new songs this year, mixed with some MKC solids. It’s the mix of songs with the sassy movements that will grab your attention. Bling and ass shaking is part of the norm for MKC (so is the rum punch and pizza wind down after the event, but more about that another time…) and we certainly aren’t afraid to shake them! This year, we’re not holding back on letting you hear the voices; more soloists backed with dynamic harmonies will give you an Earth-shattering vibe that takes you to a great place. And the choice of songs will surprise you; where are you going to hear West End Theatre mixed with London Grammar in one set? Different, but only MKC can pull it off. There is a seriously strong Legends tribute medley at the end of the show. Come see to find out who…

What makes us unique is our family feel; we’ve been through so many experiences as a collective (and because there is so many of us there isn’t much left that we can’t handle…..) look out for the special encore at the end that epitomises this….

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

The good thing about asking a collective what we should go and see is the vast amount of suggestions. The challenge when you ask a collective what we should go and see is the vast amount of suggestions! We’ve tried to narrow it down to our top 3, and of course, the music shows won hands down!

There have been rave reviews from MKC members about Eva Cassidy‬: The Story, theSpace@the Symposium Hall. An emotional journey highlighting the brief life of a woman with an inspirational voice. Reflects a lot of what we stand for in our music. A whole bunch of MKC are going to see Havana After Dark @ Pleasance, EICC; the Cuban salsa mood will keep us energised for the rest of our run! And a few very fortunate MKCers caught the Aretha Franklin Story (also at theSpace@the Symposium Hall). Almost all of the female vocalists in MKC use Aretha as an inspiration to get in touch with their inner divas! Awesome legend. Tickets for this weekend have already sold out, so don’t miss it next week!



“Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds” (Assembly George Square Studios, until AUG 26 : 15:50 : 60mins)

“Absolutely everyone is saying you should go see it and that’s because everyone should absolutely go see it.”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

There was a time when people actually read the newspapers. No, no, it’s true. Every day they took a few coins out of their pocket which were exchanged for the latest headlines, insight, and opinion. It wasn’t a perfect system, fake news and churnalism are nothing new, but it ticked along merrily enough. Then globalism happened. Then digitisation happened. And it turned out that those who own and operate newspapers have about as much collected wisdom as the Creator bestowed on a stick of celery. Hōhonu kaki, pāpaku nana.

Back in the day, the longest-running year-round show in Edinburgh was the collapse of the North British Newspaper. The coming of a new Scottish Parliament and Government, the continuing health of Scotland’s professional and service sectors, the growing significance as well as size of the capital’s festival season, meant there was more raw news than ever. The masses came online and there were even more ways to consume and digest news content than ever.

And yet, somehow, as the cricket ball of destiny gently arced towards the green, the outstretched hands of the fielding news industry were allowed to slip into pockets of mediocrity. The ball struck head-on even as the note of nonchalant condescension whistling from the Scottish media’s main mouthpiece reached its shrillest. With shoulders still shrugged, the impact stunned, concussed, and obliterated the North British Newspaper’s faculties, reducing the once proud and active player to a drooling spectator convalescing cantankerously in the pavilion.

Still, every year, all but dead, and definitely decaying, the North British Newspaper is solemnly wheeled into the commentary box to provide its two penny’s worth of insight into EdFringe. Older producers (though rarely any actual punters) convince themselves that unlike everyone else on Earth, the denizens of Edinburgh actually give a tinker’s fart what their crippled local newspaper has to say about anything. EdFringe was (and is) no less of a local or an analogue experience than reading the North British Newspaper on the train into Waverley. And yet EdFringe has not only survived but thrived in the new cultural landscape.

For an insight into why, one need look no further than ‘Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds’ – this season’s must-see toast of the town. Absolutely everyone is saying you should go see it and that’s because everyone should absolutely go see it. Firstly, because the show is beautifully presented. Four great looking guys in matching suits which, even at this late stage, are so sharp and well pressed you might cut your finger on them. Koro, Big Bro, Uncle, and Bub take to the stage for an hour of storytelling at its finest.

In less ambitious or dexterous hands the show’s premise might have come out a smidge goofy. But the quiet charm, relaxed confidence, and unashamed boldness of four matching, but totally different performances leave no room for doubting the effectiveness of the narrative architecture. We are given a privileged insight into the soul of a distant nation coming to terms with the passing of the old and the rise of the new. The stories are centre on unrequited love, unending grief, unsettling self-denial and, finally, most poignantly of all, the unravelling of hope. 

The music is soulful. The dance routines are measured and graceful (I’ve got my promised haka). This is the closest I may get to seeing the badinage, banter, and rehearsed spontaneity of the Rat Pack on stage in my lifetime. Culturally nourishing, intellectually stimulating, and physically elating – how tragic for all humanity that this show is not a snack food product.

What this show is, is a testament to what soul searching can do for a person and for a people. No answers have been provided when the house lights come back up, but the underlying questions of life, the universe, and everything have been defined and refined – which isn’t bad considering it’s pretty much just four blokes singing songs for an hour.

Britain right now is in the midst of a seemingly endless period of schism and interregnal discord. The toxic vapours of the public’s angry nostalgia and self-pitying hubris are left to fester by the breakdown of the traditional cultural cloud lifters such as the North British Newspaper. How fortunate it is then that the global presence of EdFringe can deliver a reaffirming shot of cultural adrenaline, sourced from far away nation tormented by the past, troubled in the present, and uncertain of the future. It’s a damn pity that, with the archbishop incapacitated and irrelevant, there is no one around to crown Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds kings of the Fringe ‘19 and joyfully exclaim, “Tēnā koe Kïngi o te Kīngitanga.”



Reviewer: Dan Lentell (Seen 17 August)

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Foil, Arms and Hog – Swines (Underbelly, Bristo Square: Aug 18-25 : 21:00: 1hr)

image of event

“A tremendously talented bunch who made hard comedy look easy.”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

I don’t think I’d ever been to see a Fringe show solo. I usually meet up with pals or drag my children. However, on Saturday, I thought I’d see what solo flying was like and trotted along to the McEwen Hall to see Foil, Arms and Hog.

My only experience of them had been via their cult YouTube clips being beamed into my social media feed from time to time – their ‘’Englishman plays Risk’’ and ‘’Brexit: Divorce’’ being the obvious examples. Beyond that I didn’t know too much about them: there were three of them. I didn’t understand the name. They were Irish. They went to University College Dublin. That was it. My lack of knowledge says more about me than them.

I suppose the old grey matter should have started zinging when I read the words ‘McEwen Hall’. This is one of the biggest venues at the Fringe. It was sold out. There must have been the best part of 1,000 people in the audience. Clearly these guys have a serious following and serious game.

Whilst many of you will have come across them via YouTube, they are a different proposition live and – in my view – a better proposition live. Go!

The first ten minutes were gloriously anarchic as the trio romped around the audience getting people involved in various ways: looking in people’s shopping bags, trying on coats, inspecting tickets etc.

It all looked very easy. As with everything, it clearly comes from months and years of practice. You only get that rapport with each other, the quickness of mind, the badinage, the ability to change things up and riff off each other through knowing each other inside out.

In crowd work, it is cheap and easy to mock the audience. Too many comedians do that. Some turn it into their entire act (and some reviewers lap it up. It is like giving the school bully an A grade). Foil, Arms and Hog have fun with their audience but try to make them co-stars of the show rather than the butt of a joke: that involves kindness, confidence and talent. Carmen and Rory – the two audience members who became stars – had a bit of gentle leg pulling but it was all done in the best of humours.

They then break into a series of sketches and songs all of which were clever, witty and laugh out loud funny.  Whilst I’ve bemoaned elsewhere the dreary politics of most comics at the Fringe their Brexit Song ‘’It’s hard to break free from a union’’ was both extremely funny and technically accomplished. If you are going to joke about politics at least try to do something different and witty: these guys certainly did. Their ‘’Guidelines’’ sketch had me in stitches. There was innuendo there but no smut. Again, that takes cleverness and a deft hand.

Each sketch worked well and covered a range of talents – musicianship, clever lyrics, extensive mime and more besides. The sketches ranged across many spheres: a gloriously hammy actor given a secret mission; Ludwig van Beethoven entering a talent show; a recurring stag do sketch; and a brilliant, almost indescribable mime show. My personal highlight was the sheer joy the three actors had particularly when they tried to corpse each other. I enjoyed them spinning off script and teasing each other throughout.

I liked all three of them enormously and did so even more when they bumped into the crowd on the way to the bar and shook everyone’s hand thanking them for coming along. They seemed to enjoy it as much as the fans. They are a tremendously talented bunch who made hard comedy look easy. This was the sort of humour that your teenage nephew would enjoy but also your mother-in-law. That, again, is quite something.

Whenever anyone views a sketch show they naturally begin to compare to the great sketch shows of the past and that terrifying word ‘’Python’’ begins to linger in one’s mind. Many shows are called Python-esque when they are really nothing of the sort. Foil, Arms and Hog are pythonesque in their inventiveness, their cleverness, their interplay and their use of so many different comic tools. I could have watched another hour. A must see.



Reviewer: Rob Marrs (Seen 17 August)

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