Jonny and the Baptists: Eat the Poor review at Roundabout, Edinburgh – ‘uproarious’
Jonny Donahoe is the star and co-creator of one of the most joyous fringe shows of recent years, Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing (up here again this year, still gorgeous). He’s also one of half of Jonny and the Baptists, along with guitarist Paddy Gervers (a man with some of the best hair in comedy).
As ever their songs are sharp, smart and catchy, and like last year’s The End is Nigh, there’s a strong sense of structure and narrative to the show. Building on the fact that David Cameron once gave an interview where he genuinely couldn’t remember how many houses he owned, they set out to explore social inequality, and the ever-widening chasm between the poor and the wealthy. They envisage a future in which Jonny gets very rich by selling out to Andrew Lloyd Webber, while Paddy ends up destitute and on the streets. This format allows them to explore the damage done to this country and make a plea for social responsibility while eating a lot of cake and making bad Andrew Lloyd Webber puns (so very many Lloyd Webber puns, but then he’s worth an estimated £650 million, according to the Telegraph’s 2015 Rich List, and he voted against tax credit for the poor in the House of Lords, so he’s fair game).
Jonny drunk-clambers over the audience, which he does very, very well. I’ve seen him do it before but it’s still funny. The pair are excellent musicians too, and have a great rapport, with each other and the audience. They are on top form here in Eat the Poor – it’s not quite as tidy as The End is Nigh but then these are not tidy times. There’s real outrage here, and a good dash of provocation, amid all the silliness and song.