Hennessy and Friends are the visually mismatched trio of Miranda Hennessy, David Seymour (Joan Collins in the Snickers ad) and Steven Shapland. They’re a sketch group with bucketloads of ideas, indulging all types of humour – observational, visual, black comedy, even a little slapstick.
With such abundance of material, there’s little time or need for the recurring catch phrases and characters so beloved of modern sketch groups. Hennessy’s well-observed ladette crops up a few times, swearing and bragging about shagging and shots, but even she’s sparingly used, with Seymour and Shapland’s herbal tea drinking brickies and footy loving poshos as her foils. Other highlights include a yummy mummy scene which tips its hat to Python’s Four Yorkshiremen and an ongoing misunderstanding over Shapland’s imaginary girlfriend. A lame looking musical number seems set to be the one to take the shine off things, but even this is saved with its abrupt, sick ending. Indeed, there are remarkably few duds among this motley set of sketches, even if a couple take a while to get going.
As a sketch troupe, they’re not afraid to slip out of character and speak through the fourth wall. In fact, it is when they’re at their best; in character, they edge towards overacting at points. This, plus the volume of sketches and the lack of a defining style perhaps marks them as a potentially powerful writing team rather than necessarily a performing group in their own right, but for an hour in this concrete shell on Cowgate, they have the audience heartily amused.