Foxdog Studios manage the impossible. They take musical comedy, IT consultancy and PAT testing, and somehow slam them together into something astonishingly entertaining. From the ludicrously complex set-up (involving multiple computers, wireless networks and miles of trailing cables) to the impressively bizarre set-pieces, Foxdog Studios are an absolutely unique act.
A show of this kind, with its gleeful use of ubiquitous smartphones and wi-fi networks, would have been almost unthinkable as little as five years ago. All of which puts Foxdog, with their inimitable talents, in completely unexplored territory for comedy. What other comedy act can utilise an audience’s smartphone web browsers for their audience interaction pieces? Else program and engineer a costume that plays music and controls lights and visualisations when touched?
But it’s not just technical prowess that’s on show with Foxdog; they are also marvellous judges of delivery. The decision to perform the majority of the routine completely straight-faced, in the style of a corporate presentation, is a delightful and hilarious balance to the absurdity of their act.
In support of Foxdog Studios’ hour-long show were short sets from the marvellously childish Tony Basnett, whose slightly genius efforts to keep himself entertained underpinned a selection of highly enjoyable anecdotes, and Matt Bonnano, whose Maltese heritage is a fertile ground for comedy and a good source of gags, but unfortunately loses momentum at times with overlong set-ups.
XS Malarkey’s regular compère, Toby Hadoke, was a delight as always. His generally befuddled Guardian-reader air was transformed into a hysterical end-note to the evening, when he found himself with a moving star field unwittingly projected onto his crotch. His bafflement as to why the audience were still laughing only served to fan the flames.
Foxdog Studios and their technical specifications can be found online at foxdogstudios.com. XS Malarkey is a non-profit weekly comedy night, and can be found at xsmalarkey.com.