Foil, Arms and Hog: Craicling

Irish comedy trio Foil, Arms and Hog return to the Fringe. Known for their inventive skits, original songs, and comic bits on all things Irish, their show Craicling riffs on the hard life of food delivery drivers, the advantages of the hand gun, and the immigration policy of the United States. Sounds like a mixed bag, but the group manage to keep it light and interesting and their audience is never bored – and the boys aren’t afraid of incorporating their McEwan Hall audience into the show at all.

Before going to see this show, please be advised: try not to sit in aisle seat if you are wearing a bright orange Fringe pass. That is what I did, and if it didn’t scream ‘I’m a reviewer’ loud enough, my open notebook and pen did. Foil, Arms and Hog missed no beats in involving me in the show – not too out of the ordinary, as they open the show by incorporating various audience members in a misinformed tour of the venue. Amongst my genuine notes for the performance is a scribbled smily face, and a line denoting that the show is ‘FIVE STARS’ – and indeed it is.

The show is a mix of scripted comedy, improv with the audience, and some song and dance thrown in for good measure. While a slew of characters cross the stage through the hour, including an lecturer for ‘how to hold a baby’, a drama-school trained actor just trying to find his break, and three monks who have a wild night at their monastery, the personalities of all three shine through. They aren’t afraid to riff off of each other if a scene goes slightly awry – and if it does, it’s cheerfully smoothed over without a second thought.

That being said, the show is also a testament to the talents of the trio outside of comedy: all three drop into character seamlessly, wasting barely seconds. Not to mention their impressive singing, which is showcased at multiple points in the show. Everything is clearly well-rehearsed, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. Plenty of time was allowed to chat to audience members, bring them up on stage, and accommodate for the reviewer in the audience – I received a cushion for my efforts. The group even holds a meet-and-greet after the show, and were incredibly down-to-earth in person.

If you like fast-paced comedy, a bit of audience participation, or just some classic Irish fun, then give this show a visit. If you’re lucky, you might even learn some interesting (totally false and made-up) facts about McEwan Hall in the process.

Foil Arms & Hog are on until the 26th of August –

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Mica Anderson

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