Hennessy & Friends are a pretty slick outfit, delivering skilful and glossy sketch comedy that’s slightly at odds with the rather flimsy surroundings in the Cowgatehead wing of the Freestival. The do-it-yourself nature of the free fringe doesn’t seem to be putting the punters off, though, judging from the packed crowd; the show was so busy on the Saturday night I tried to see them, it was standing room only. Quite right. Miranda Hennessy, David Seymour and Stephen Shapland are excellent at providing crowd-pleasing gags and characters, it’s no wonder they’re able to entice so many people into a hot, sweaty room on the Cowgate.
Not all the sketches worked as well as others. Thankfully there were a lot of sketches to get through, with enough creativity and diversity to appeal to everyone. In a nod to the Fleetwood Mac aping poster, the best bits tended to be the sketch group supposedly dropping character and arguing amongst themselves, leading to some great audience interaction and a brilliant ending. The ‘proper’ sketches in between generally worked well, although some of the broader (and louder) characters would recur somewhat unnecessarily. Having said that, one particularly unhinged sketch featuring a dynamite Kermit the Frog impression by Shapland brought the house down. They aren’t particularly breaking new ground in sketch comedy, but with fine performances and funny material it doesn’t really matter. A big hit.