FOIL, Arms and Hog, an Irish trio comedian act who started out their career by posting YouTube videos, took to the Lowry Theatre stage on their ‘DoomDah’ tour, travelling around England, Scotland and of course, Ireland.
As the main lights dim down and the stage lights up, the voices of the three Irish men echo through the speakers around the theatre. The crowd’s eyes wander around the room in search for Foil, Arms and Hog, formed of Sean Finegan, Sean Flanagan and Conor McKenna, who are nowhere to be seen until Finegan walks on stage alone.
The Irish comedians walk towards the stage from the back of the room, taking small sips from plastic cups of beer and wine from the crowd, as Finegan enthusiastically encourages the crowd to sing their opening music, consisting of the repeated sounds, “badoom dab doom dab doom dab didly dab.”
As they took to the stage, the mandatory fire precaution instructions were almost performed by the trio as they joked about where the fire exits were and how to get there, for example by walking in slow motion, as demonstrated by Flanagan and McKenna whilst they stood down each side of the theatre seat rows.
“Hello Manchester, thank you for having us” shout the Irishmen as they’re cheered on to begin the show, not knowing that they’re actually in Salford. The crowd soon corrects them and they proceed on with the show, jokingly pointing out that Salford is better than Manchester, just to make up for the fact they didn’t even know it existed until now.
— Foil, Arms and Hog (@FoilArmsAndHog) April 9, 2017
Audience participation was key in this show, with an audience member up on stage playing a character in every few sketches. As a human smart phone was the first audience character, the laughter was contagious. Swiping to unlock and airplane mode aren’t exactly what people expect to see performed on a human, but seeing individuals have the chance to express themselves on stage with the comedians was amusing to watch. A man named Aaron was the first to be picked on to come on stage. He misunderstood the concept of the human (him) being the smart phone and persisted on getting his phone out of his pocket when asked what the password is. Finegan loudly whispers to him, “You are the phone,” creating a cheer of laughter from the crowd, along with Aaron himself.
It’s clear that the trio are easy going guys who are just having fun. Throughout the show they make new jokes with each other, allowing the audience to feel as though they’re with a group of friends. Not all sketches with audience participation went to plan, however Foil, Arms and Hog were prepared for the unexpected outcomes that took place during the show and spread their humour throughout.
Each sketch portrayed a different character, for example a little girl and boy. The little girl, played by Sean Flanagan, was presented to the audience with the use of a bow in his curly hair. It surprisingly sold the character to the audience really well, making it all the more entertaining when his voice broke from the high pitched one he was speaking in. The sketch took a whole new unanticipated turn, in which the eight-year-old girl suddenly begins saying inappropriate things in a deep male Irish accent, leading McKenna, playing the 10-year-old boy to shout “I knew we shouldn’t have played with that Ouija board,” triggering the entire audience to cripple over with laughter.
Some characters were strong stereotypes that could have been perceived negatively if they were performed by someone else, however due to the bubbly way the three of them depicted the characters, it was all taken lightly, and quite frankly, it was hilarious. Especially the camp German assistant, played by Conor McKenna, in one sketch that involved a game of musical chairs between audience members onstage.
“I knew we shouldn’t have played with that Ouija board,”
When the show came to a close after two halves with a single interval in between, Foil, Arms and Hog all came to centre stage to thank everybody for coming, whilst stating this is their first show in Greater Manchester, “unless you count the show we did here in front of about 5 people,” said McKenna. As the audience left the theatre, Finegan, Flanagan and McKenna were waiting outside the doors to meet and thank everyone individually, whilst some people bought their £10 DVD.
Overall, Foil, Arms and Hog are a great act to see if you just want a chilled out evening laugh… or if you’re prepared to be humiliated on stage in front of a crowd with three brilliant comedians.