Jonny & The Baptists: Dance Like It Never Happened
Assembly George Square Studios
Spending an hour with Jonny and the Baptists is quite exhausting—well with Jonny to be exact, as Paddy (Jonny introduces him as "my band, the Baptists") spends most of the time when not singing and playing either laughing or nervously wondering where Jonny is going to take them next. Of course this could all be a very good act and the hour could actually be planned down to the second, but I suspect there is a large element of improvisation.
The show is a combination of patter, full-length comic songs and some very short sung gags, which are often to familiar tunes. Jonny tells us he's had COVID three times and long COVID before reassuring us with a song that tells us it's never too late to give up. He says they are known to be a political act, but they are no longer political as everything's fine now...
There's a recurring musical gag that seems to be about him wanting to get into a relationship with the Queen, an exciting tale in song about his "Cocaine Gran" who comes to a tragic end, a song about Quentin Blake coming to his house armed with a knife that also involves Michael Ball with a machete, some musings from Jonny on what he would do if her were God and much more.
Towards the end, Jonny decided at this performance (possibly at others) that he was going to scrap their planned ending and do "The Frog Song"; Paddy says they don't have a song called this, then works out what he means and finds a backing track for it, to which Jonny appears to be improvising the lyrics as he can't remember the originals.
Mostly, the lively songs are accompanied by Paddy percussively on acoustic guitar, but for one or two he uses a fuller arrangement on a recorded backing track, while they both sing, and Paddy laughs a lot.
This is a proper belly-laugh show from beginning to end that the performers seem to enjoy as much as the audiences. It's not a huge venue and they often sell out in Edinburgh (even if Jonny says they play half-empty arts centres the rest of the year) so book in advance. They are selling CDs afterwards; I may have bought some if I hadn't been rushing off to another show.
Reviewer: David Chadderton