Jonny & The Baptists: Ten Thankless Years
Jonny & The Baptists
Assembly George Square Gardens
The satirical surrealists Jonny Donahoe and Paddy Gervers have been poking musical fun at the establishment as Jonny and the Baptists since 2011, but they tell us this special celebration will be “concentrating on the middle ten years.”
In front of them, taped to the floor, is a list of numerous songs. On top of the list sits a small toy fluffy pig next to an alarm clock, no doubt as a reminder to limit the hilarious, seemingly ‘improvised’ knockabout banter for which they are famous.
They are immediately singing, “you’re either against capitalism or in favour of the end of the world,” adding to sound topical, “the world is burning around us and you come to this stupid show.”
The performance includes songs we will recall from earlier shows. A few, such as the one about their antics with a vocoder synthesiser in a hotel at night, are simply funny
Others are sharply critical of the world in unexpected ways (unless you have seen them before). There’s the one that tells the story of Abraham and Isaac from the point of view of the young boy who calmly tells us in a song that on his holidays he was “sitting on the top of a mountain with my hands all tied up. Waiting for my father to kill me” because “my dad has this friend who” told him “to kill me.”
The last-minute replacement sacrifice of a ram means they return down the mountain splattered in blood, with Isaac feeling awkward and wondering if they ought to keep what happened a secret. However, his dad tells him he intends to found the three great world religions on the incident. It leaves Isaac wondering if it will take thousands of years to work out, “that it was pretty toxic behaviour up there on the mountain for a nine-year-old boy.”
The performance never flags, and the banter is minimised, though Paddy still every so often gives Jonny the incredulous look that suggests a particular bit wasn’t in the rehearsal plan. Since this show is listed as a celebration of a lot of years and material, the last ten minutes give us very abbreviated versions of numerous songs.
Jonny and The Baptists have lost none of their edge. They continue to give us humour and hope in dark times.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna