Irish sketch trio Foil, Arms and Hog have quietly built up a cult following, packing the Stand out on a Monday night despite having little profile in Scotland beyond their YouTube channel and Edinburgh Fringe appearances of eight years. It’s easy to see why they’ve endured while other, less committed sketch acts have fallen by the wayside. Sean Finegan (Foil), Conor McKenna (Arms) and Sean Flanagan (Hog) prefer high-concept skits and their best work is generally loose but well written. However, it’s their knockabout energy and rapport with the audience as they wade in and out of the crowd, consistently dragging them into their tomfoolery, that sets them apart.
Foil, Arms and Hogg ***
The Stand, Glasgow
Delivering a compilation of their latest show, DoomDah, and some of their greatest hits, they’re infectiously upbeat performers who clearly enjoy each other’s company and the mischief of habitual ad-libbing. Flanagan is typically the clown with Finegan the notional straight man and voice of authority. But the manner in which McKenna flits between these poles exemplifies the fluidity of the group as a whole.
Some sketches, such as a free flowing tennis mime in slow-motion, had little to recommend them beyond sheer childishness. But a secret agent scenario, in which Flanagan had to tip-toe around the politically correct racial constraints his superior had placed upon him, was wonderfully executed, ramped up with McKenna’s arrival as a sassy African-American woman. In isolation, several routines lacked spark, but the show was carried on their enthusiasm and daftness.