Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017: Jonny & The Baptists

If you are looking to kick-start an evening of Fringe festivities that will banish the cobwebs and revive you in preparation for another night of revelry I can think of no better alternative than going along to see comedy music act Jonny and the Baptists.

The Jonny in the band is Jonny Donohoe, the main vocal protagonist in the ensemble and his side kick is Paddy Gervers.  They bounce cheerily into the auditorium, disarmingly looking like a pair of buskers accidentally stumbling onto the stage, and it strikes you immediately that they are going to have an enjoyable time tonight and they love performing together, and this sets the tone for a night of fun songs and plenty of laughter.

The themes, on the outset, are not cheerful ones.  Trump, Brexit, May, impending nuclear war, gay people unable to give blood, and Jonnys losing of a loved one doesn’t sound like a jamboree of entertainment but the wittily prepared songs, their impeccable guitar playing and neatly choreographed vocal harmonies are outstanding and it charged along at a high-octane speed resulting in the hour in their company just whizzing by.  Highlight of the show must be their offer to the UKIP party to write a theme song for the political party which when heard by the UKIP hierarchy produced a letter from ex-leader Paul Nuttall which they quoted: “I’m all in favour of free speech but this show must not take place!” A subsequent read-through of the hate mail they had received was hilarious.

They finished the show with an aggressive bombastic rap highlighting how difficult it is to make a stand when you are in the presence of someone spouting racist or homophobic bile and providing a wry examination of how we British struggle to come over as anything other than mildly polite.

A brilliant show, intelligent material, two very engaging performers.  A must-see show if you get the opportunity.


Steve Heald – Writing is my passion, contact me on steve_j_heald if you would like me to write for you.