Edinburgh review: Jonny and the Baptists: Eat the Poor (Summerhall)

The raucous comedy-music double-act present a terrifying vision of the future where swans are in charge

Jonny & the Baptists
Jonny & the Baptists
© Jon Davis

Jonny and the Baptists are Jonny Donahoe and Paddy Gervers, a political comedy-music-theatre duo with very broad smiles and an excellent ability to highlight the injustices of society through song. Their raucous new show includes a tune about swans taking over the earth, several swear words from the future (dick valve, bum puffin) and a pair of slightly baggy Y-fronts with a picture of Margaret Thatcher on the back.

There’s lots more oddball shenanigans in this big-hearted, hilarious piece which was kicked into being after David Cameron said in an interview in 2009 that he didn’t know how many houses he owned. "Please don’t make me sound like a prat because I don’t know how many houses I have," he said.

Well, Jonny and the Baptists have listened to Dave’s plea and made it their business to ignore it. And it’s not just him; they ridicule a lot of other people, from the Daily Mail to every single peer who voted to cut tax credits. Andrew Lloyd Webber is one who – rather surprisingly – features quite a lot in Eat the Poor. The story they tell dives into the future, where Donahoe is a successful maker of musicals with Webber – Grand Designs the Musical, to be exact – while his friend falls on hard times.

It’s just the two of them, wearing shirts and jeans and jumping about onstage, guitars in hand. They are like a slightly less rude and much more political version of Tenacious D, bouncing off each other as they paint a vision of the UK that is wildly unequal. In the process they point out some gob-smacking facts about homeless people – 42 years is the average life expectancy of someone living on the streets today.

Ultimately Donahoe and Gervers say that we desperately need to change the way we think about wealth. Otherwise, as they predict, bees may end up taking over Scotland and Mika might get popular again. Yes, their version of the future is terrifying in more ways than one.

Jonny and the Baptists: Eat the Poor is on at Summerhall at 7.35pm until 28 August (not Tues).

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