Dublin Fringe Festival 2017: Oink
On The Pigs Back
It’s the first time a sketch show has ever been performed on the stage of The National Theatre. Some will have views about that. Disgraceful. What’s our National Theatre coming to? Is it now just a venue for hire? What next, Robo-actors? Or is it a way to expand the possibilities of what the National Theatre can offer? A way to challenge some common perceptions? To attract a new audience who might come for the comedy and stay for something else. Frankly, Foil Arms & Hog don’t appear to care. They’ve always enjoyed poking fun at theatre. And they have a show to do. It’s called “Oink.” It’s part of the Dublin Fringe Festival and is on the stage of The Abbey. And it’s utterly spellbinding and a triumph. Well, a triumph anyway.
In truth, there are no real surprises in “Oink.” If you’ve seen Foil Arms & Hog before on one of their endless tours, or are one of the billions of millions of fans that avidly follow their sketches on YouTube, you pretty much know what you’re going to get: good clean comedy fun of the variety show persuasion. Only this time it’s smarter, slicker, and far more polished. As always there’s the preshow warm up with the audience, the singing of the comedians on to the stage, followed by a perfectly pitched evening of expected and unexpected moments of mirth and hilarity, overflowing with chuckles, giggles, sniggers and laughs, and every other humourous release you can think of. But don’t expect the YouTube sketches; go onto your computer for those. “Oink” is strictly for live consumption only, for the moment anyway. So laugh out loud to songs for the elderly, balaclava boutiques, wild apes settling their differences, mixed up musical moments and motivational prison speakers, to name but a few. It may only last an hour, but it’s a fun fueled hour that you’ll probably never ever forget, until you do.
When it comes to “Oink,” Foil Arms & Hog have a formula, that dreaded word, and they're sticking to it. They’re sticking to it because it works. Because they have a loyal fan base, ever expanding, which enjoy and appreciate what they do, as well as their effort's to engage with their fans, both during and after the show. It’s a formula that's incredibly smart, meticulous and detailed. One which includes slapstick, impressions, accents, observations, music, theatricality, physical comedy; you name it, it's in there somewhere. And it’s always getting better, even if the guy in the front didn't get it and needs it all explained to him.
So sketch comedy at The Abbey? A win-win it might seem. Yet those unsure of The Abbey’s new policy might perhaps see in the dust from the set of Teresa Deevy’s “Katie Roche” being brushed to the wings a metaphor for where things might yet go. In the meantime, there's “Oink”, which proudly declaims 'if you're not laughing at the show, then it’s a play.'
“Oink” by Foil Arms & Hog runs at The Abbey Theatre as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2017 on September 15th and16th and 21st and 22nd.