Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Jonny and The Baptists – The Best Of 2012-2017

Jonny and The Baptists

Genre: Comedy, Live Music

Venue: Summerhall Roundhouse


Low Down

Anarchic, absurdist and downright silly in a whirlwind exposé of issues of the moment over the last five years.


The Queen.  No, not Nicola.  Elizabeth.  She’s the secret weapon we apparently need to let loose.  She’s the only one in the world who can kill Donald Trump and get away with it.  After all, she’s 91 now, so what can they do to her?  That’s the very amusing starting point for Jonny (Donahoe) and the Baptist’s (Paddy Gervers) wild, anarchic, acerbic, droll, dry, satirical look at the state of the nation through the absurdist protest songs that have been their trademark since they got together five years ago.

They had a crazy take on a number of weird subjects; nationalising all the swans; being mugged by upper-class, twelve year old boys; a love song like no other you are going to hear anytime soon; a song about growing up; how to make Britain great again (giving free corned beef to the under-fives being a key element here, it appears); and how weddings have exploded from their former simple guise into being an expression of “me, me, me and me”.

It’s manic, most of the numbers being delivered at a breakneck pace often involving complex interchanges of lyrics between the two breathless singers.  Funny lines fall over each other – you’ve hardly finished laughing at one when the next hits you full on.  Jonny bounces and bounds around the circular stage in the Summerhall Roundhouse, making his guitar playing sidekick twist and turn in order to keep the music and words together.

All this is bound together with some very professional patter and badinage, giving the audience time to draw breath, and the performers too.  Did you know, for example, that if you don’t drink, you don’t fall straight to sleep at night?  It opens up a whole new world.  And there was a clever running gag about what key the next song needed to be played in.  Jonny was convinced it should be G, all their songs were sung in that key, weren’t they?  What is musical theory anyway?  It’s all just a load of squiggles on a page.  Like Russian, it means nothing.  Dead pan delivery and great comic timing.

What you’ve got here is two really good singers with a needle-sharp sense of wit and an unerring ability to get across a really serious issue in a manner that’s thought provoking and silly at the same time.  Thoroughly recommended for anyone of a slightly silly disposition.