Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Anarchic, absurdist and downright silly in a whirlwind exposé of issues of the moment.
Despite Jonny (Donahoe) and his Baptist (Paddy Gervers) being political comedians, they’d like to point out that this show is in no way political. It’s all above love. No politics. Absolutely no politics as we’re all fed up with it. We live in an increasingly divided world and these two want to cross that divide. But how can they become popular when ‘populist’ has been become a euphemism for ‘I’m a shit’?
Spread the word of love, that’s how. Which is why we’re being softened up with a melange of well-known love songs, belting out over the PA as we all troop into the cavernous Assembly Roxy’s Upstairs theatre. Let’s all just get along and have a happy time together.
But it’s OK to have a little go at capitalism isn’t it? Because that’s evil and you’re either against capitalism or you’ve voted for the end of the world, right? That’s not a political slant is it? Neither is having a few digs at the super rich or trying to grift them out of their cash. Having lots of cash just creates stress, doesn’t it? So why not just take all your cash out of your pockets and throw it at the two performers on stage, who promise to look after it very carefully for you and not fritter it away.
So begins another hour of the anarchic, absurdist, surreal, droll, dry, satirical comedy set to music for which Jonny and the Baptists have a glowing reputation. And it’s very much like stand-up set to a series of well-constructed guitar riffs as the duo go helter-skelter through a series of numbers including that running gag about relieving the super-rich of their cash, wondering what it’s like to be God and how you could change the world for the better if you were, legalising fox hunting but create an army of foxes to fool the hunters, why Winston Churchill shouldn’t have ended up on the back of the £5 note and an intriguing piece speculating as to where it will all end.
It’s all crazy stuff, 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 stage in the Assembly Roxy’s Upstairs, making his guitar playing sidekick twist and turn in order to keep the music and words together.
But whilst most of their programme was, despite their best intentions, aimed at exposing the political injustices in our society, they changed the mood very successfully with a couple of numbers based on personal memories, both songs touched with poignancy and no little pathos.
All this is bound together with some very professional patter and badinage, giving the audience time to draw breath, and the performers too. 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.