Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Jonny & the Baptists sing humorous comedy blues songs with a political edge in this witty and engaging show.
Jonny and the Baptists leap forward from offstage, abounding with enthusiasm and exuberance. A threesome from the UK of Jonny and Paddy on guitars and Lisa on violin, they sing ridiculous and humorous songs from Upper Middle Class Gangster Children to the particularly outstanding and absurd horror song (evoked by plucked strings) of being stalked by er, Quentin Blake and him killing Michael Ball!
With a stripped back blues feeling, there is little set (save for cheap hand-drawn signs in the background with their name on which they jokingly refer to as wide screen televisions but then admit are simply pieces of cardboard) but this matters not as the threesome are entirely engaging throughout.
Jonny, the lead singer and guitarist talks a lot between songs. He meanders good-humouredly and self-deprecatingly in talking to the audience individually, asking where we’re from, discussing his having been brought up in Reading and joking constantly throughout in between songs. Whilst this can often be a mistake, Jonny is thoroughly engaging and the audience is more than happy to go along for the ride with him and the others. Whilst there is obviously some scripted material, Jonny often wanders off-topic and follows different trains of thought before returning to it. This could be considered irritating by some, but Jonny is so warm, charismatic and genuinely friendly that he more than makes up for this in his delivery.
Thematically the content is fairly political with them encouraging people to use libraries more to prevent their closure (albeit by having sex in them), the state of middle class youths today and being gay. They have also set themselves a song-a-day project throughout the Fringe (which they do not recommend to anyone) and have created songs about asking Scotland not to leave the UK, the NHS and A-Level results to name a few. This makes a nice change from many others that are pre-occupied with songs sex (ooh how naughty) and adds a nice satirical edge to the proceedings. If there was any complaint it would be that sometimes a few of their songs are frustratingly curt, as they are so clever, you wish them to last longer than they do, but with material this fresh and fun they are easily forgiven.