City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Eat the Poor, Stand Comedy Club, Review


By Lindsay Corr - Posted on 25 May 2017

4
Jonny & the Baptists by Jon Davis
Show Details
Company: 
Jonny & the Baptists
Production: 
Jonny Donahoe & Paddy Gervers (Writers) Will Young/Supportung Wall (Producer)
Performers: 
onny Donahoe & Paddy Gervers
Running time: 
90mins

Jonny & the Baptists – Jonny Donahoe & Paddy Gervers – are drawing to the end of their 50-date extensive UK Tour of Eat the Poor, last year’s Fringe Festival hit of political satire and musical madness with a serious message at its heart, but their passion for the material has not diminished, nor the variant reactions up and down this (United) Kingdom.

So when Theresa May announced a General Election in April, it surely re-sharpened the message behind the joviality for these self-proclaimed lefties, whose hatred of privilege seeps from every pore and chord, presented through smart and catchy songs in a show that’s seemingly chaotic structure refreshingly retains the core narrative at its heart.

Jonny began Tuesday’s show in Edinburgh by acknowledging the abhorrent act the previous evening in Manchester, stating it couldn’t be ignored but we mustn’t stop living and continuing to combat darkness with laughter. Indeed.

The first act is an amusing series of skits, stats and songs to whet our appetite for act two which we’re assured – a few times – is a little weird.

The songs have a message but the emphasis is strictly on the silly, exploring Swans, Brexit, Lady Di (it went down better here than Guildford) and Lady Thatcher, as well as a hint of the heartbreak at the core with an example of a song composed by homeless people during J&tB’s time working with charity Crisis.

Then we enter a dystopian future of 2046, where inequality, friendship and revolution are put to the test. Plus Swans aren’t the serene beings we imagine them to be...

See Jonny got the opportunity of a lifetime to write some crap musicals with Andrew Lloyd Webber – Lord Toad who flew back to Britain to vote in favour of tax credit cuts for low-income workers – starting his ascent to fame, fortune and a love match with Jerry Hall. Meanwhile, pal Paddy is forgotten in the shiny embrace of riches and he ends up another invisible homeless guy on the streets.

The show cleverly highlights social inequality and the always increasing gorge between poverty and wealth without being preachy, using the futuristic analogy as a plea to consider social responsibility. Sure – the inherited wealth thread at the Centre of the piece is way too complex a territory to do anything other than scratch the surface, but if we don’t talk about it or pay attention to it, how can we change it?

A riotous romp, the duet are infectiously entertaining, bouncing off each other with ease and genuinely seem to be having the best craic, which easily transferred to the audience.

And fear not, the boys are back for a limited run at Summerhall for the Fringe Festival with a greatest hits show – I’d book a ticket now.

Jonny & the Baptists: The Best of 2012-2017 is on 13, 14, 16-19 August, 7.25pm at Summerhall