Jonny and the Baptists (Jonny Donahoe and Paddy Gervers) magically, anarchically and hysterically avoided this pitfall at the Burton Taylor Studio this last Friday night. The sold out audience of 51 people were loud, engaged and small enough to keep up levels of intimacy (helped by a healthy helping of family support for the two local boys, no doubt). The sparse studio, combined with the duo’s amiable half-cut patter, a spilt drink and a broken (e?) string, lent itself perfectly to this hour of helter-skelter harmonic hilarity.Jonny leads the stand-up, Paddy leads the music, and each supports the other in this. Paddy impishly stands over Jonny’s shoulder giggling, pitching in a punchline here or there during the vamping between songs, then turns into a boot-stomping troubadour. He’s the backbone of the show, and Jonny adds the body with the hilarious rhyming wordplay and classic stand-up in between songs. As leading vocalist and perspiring pianist, he in his turn pitches in to the musical side of things, and the yin-yang, Timon and Pumbaa style thing they’ve got going on works brilliantly.
Stand-out numbers for me were the Pub song, evoking early Al Murray, Thatcher and Scotland, though clearly suited to a festival audience, were still on point, but number one was Robert, for interaction, callbacks and weeping laughter, it stuck with me. And if that isn’t testimonial enough to why you ought to see them next time you have a chance, listen out for them on The Now Show on Radio 4 for a preview.