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Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Comedy Doesn’t Pay

Foil, Arms and Hog

Genre: Comedy, Drama


Gilded Balloon, Bristo Square


Low Down

Three highly-engaging performers work their way through some very slick, at times sweet and hilarious sketches. Though at time sketches go on for a little longer than needed the show is highly enjoyable, very touching and at times makes you clutch your hands to your face as you clock how how tragic certain sketches are about to become. 


Shouting ‘irish comedy’ on the Mile in an attempt to boost ticket sales is an odd but incredibly effective flyering technique, and no doubt the fickle-minded female population of the Fringe have surely noticed as these three run around thrusting their flyers in your face. I’d seen the three boyish Irishmen perform their show ‘Strangers With Sweets’ at the Fringe last year and, though thoroughly enjoyable and very funny, lacked a certain slickness that would have made it a 4 star performance. This year, the boys are back, and at the Gilded Balloon no less. This, for starters, is a little bemusing as the venue feels far less suited to them than their Caves room last August, proving, yet again, that though the ‘big-name’ venues have prestige, the spaces often lack any kind of atmosphere. 


These lads are, luckily, incredibly engaging to watch. They move easily from sketch to sketch with well-rehearsed movement and immerse their audience in very likable characters including a very competitive sand-castle architect, some terrible police-investigators and a rapping Fireman. The writing, sadly, lets them down on occasion and some sketches stretch on a little longer than is comfortable now and then but on the whole they’ve got a highly enjoyable show on their hands. Sean Flanagan, the little curly-haired one, has a beautiful talent of looking absolutely adorable and, during a sketch about a sand-castle-building competition, he provides one of the highlights of the show with a truly tragic little boy built out of sand. 


They take a little while to get the sketches going and a couple of the jokes fall flat in the first scene but once they get into their stride the show gains huge energy. The jokes are quick, slick and sublimely sad in places and the boy’s charm and vitality of performance creates a wonderfully fulfilling hour of sketch comedy.