Hennessy & Friends: A History of Violence (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Hennessy & Friends: A History of Violence

Displeasure turns to dynamic sketch doings

For two whole sketches and a bit, this looked like being one of those long Fringe hours when only your internal battle against the heat of a small room is likely to keep you amused. After the simple displeasures of Hennessy & Friends’ opening passages about a sick surprise anniversary present and vampires playing a garlic-based trick on one of their own, something snapped during the sequence where an overbearing and possibly disturbed child made her run-down mother’s life no longer bearable.

And once the bad sketch spell had been broken, it remained banished from the room for the duration of this show as the H&F trio played merry comedy hell with a series of silly voices, funny wigs, daft dancing/running/fox-impersonating and bizarrely grotesque spoofs of Glee and Desperate Housewives. There was no fear of the domestically mundane either as a quiet night-in with a DVD turns into one partner’s worst nightmare.

As this is a modern sketch affair, there just has to be some tension within the group and here, it’s due to the Friends (David Seymour and Steven Shapland) trying to break free from the clutches of their cruel and manipulative boss (Miranda Hennessy) to launch their own double act. That plan is naturally foiled at every turn and when Shapland is zipped up inside a holdall having performed one bad Sean Connery line too many, you wonder whether he will ever be released.
Thankfully he is and plays his part in the final scene, a moment of wonderful redemption as the sick-surprise-anniversary-present skit is revisited and cranked up way beyond 11. If you’re no longer even allowed to judge a book by its cover, don’t be drawing conclusions about a sketch trio on their first five minutes.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 27 Aug (not 13), 2.50pm, £9--£10 (£8--£9).

Hennessy & Friends: A History of Violence

  • 4 stars

A man awakes in his own basement - bound, beaten and tormented by a masked figure armed with a finger puppet… So begins a violent whirlwind of Dutch salesmen, ageing Disney Princesses, environmentalist foxes and a sickeningly good little boy named Jimmy. Miranda Hennessy (E4's PhoneShop, C4's This Just In, BBC2's Dick and…

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