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Jonny and the Baptists: The End is Nigh review at Orange Tree Theatre – ‘seriously funny’

Jonny and the Baptists at Orange Tree Theatre, London. Jonny and the Baptists at Orange Tree Theatre, London. Photo: Jon Davis
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Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Especially not to four year olds. When Jonny Donahoe told his niece that he would fix climate change, it set him and his band The Baptists – otherwise known as Paddy Gervers – on a journey that would end not with the world being saved (that’s still in progress), but instead with this show: a play-cum-standup routine with music about community action, environmental reform and Jelly Babies.

Through wittily written and invariably catchy songs, Jonny and Paddy discuss ways of tackling the damage we’ve done to the environment. It’s silliness through and through, but punctured with moments of seriousness that would be profoundly depressing if they weren’t so funny – one of the songs is called We’re All Going To Die.

The two of them make an odd but effective partnership. Donahoe – the star and co-writer of Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing, is jolly and friendly, bouncing around as he tells his story, while Paddy accompanies him on the guitar, joining in and stamping his foot for percussion. A hefty dose of Tory bashing ensues as they attack, among others, the junior minister for the environment who charted a private jet from a climate change conference.

The show was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015, and is now off on a UK tour, bur they still manage to keep a semblance of spontaneity in their performances, sparking off each other with perfect timing.

It’s a seriously funny dose of political satire, carefully constructed and full of personality, that like all great satire hides its force behind a big, contagious smile.

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Verdict
Silliness and satire combine in a hilarious show about climate change
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