When a certain cult comedian hero has travelled outside the Fringe bubble of most centralised venues, it reaffirms the notion that Foxdog Studios on at 11:15 at the Cellar Monkey in Marchmont, are going to be something special. For a Monday night, the audience have turned up in their droves. Potentially aided by one five star review and British Comedy Guide, but there is a sense word of mouth is the cause.
So word of warning and tricky giving the time, make sure you have plenty of juice in your phone and it be best to be on the smart side. A slight faux pas on my part for going in partially blind to the show. Upon first sight, the cosy setting is decorated with cables linked to various tech devices, drum machines, monitors, projectors, think Roy and Moss’s basement in IT Crowd but cramped and more manic. The projector screen instructs the audience to connect to the Foxdog Studio’s specified WiFi connection.
Self proclaimed IT rock stars, Peter Sutton and Lloyd Henning are computer science graduates from the University of Manchester. Lloyd dawned in a hi-vis jacket and armed with a guitar, who looks on towards the crowd with a dead pan expression whilst Peter is the amiable easy talker directing the crowd. Like Lloyd, Peter’s body is covered with touch synthesisers, that later, he uses as a musical instrument like an electric keyboard that is linked to the screen that maps out his body, highlighting every touch with a visual tick. It’s impressive as it is hilarious. The wow factor has barely begun.
The purpose of using our smart phones becomes apparent when the audience are individually giving a number or letter on our phones, as we look up to the projector screen, we’re all involved in a game of survival that smacks of charm of early gaming but multi shared activity, its what they’ve called podracing. This is bloody fun and merely a warm up for the main game.
There are so many elements to enjoy and applaud the duo, particularly matching a prop that is equally as daft as it is elaborate. In particular when Peter becomes box head, a metal scrap yard merchant with a box for a head with some particular technological upgrades that are not worth spoiling.
The 8-bit RPG game directed by boxhead continues the impressive level of interactive fun and silliness, giving the individual responsibilities of certain audience members and slightly lengthy game, I did feel the high octane fun achieved begin to wane. If we consider this a comedy show alone, it won’t consistently get the big laughs and there is a sense that Peter and Lloyd can improve on their joke writing and lyrics. But as a spectacle and entertainment value, this is one of the most unique shows I have seen at the Fringe in the past 14 years, if not the most unique. A perfect blend of geeky fun, rock’n’roll and daftness, there would have to be something wrong with you to not be able to enjoy yourself. I went in with a sense Foxdog Studios could be this year’s Flight of the Conchords and I can’t argue against that after first viewing. Their talent is sickening.
★★★★ (and a half)