About Time You Saw: Eat the Poor at Edinburgh FringeBy Kate Wyver
Their songs are ridiculous, over the top and frankly there’s more shouting than singing, but Jonny and the Baptists’ humour and anger are the most delicious mixture, creating a chaotic call for revolution. In a performance that couldn’t be much further from his other show at the Fringe, Every Brillliant Thing, Jonny Donahoe, with guitarist Paddy Gervers, swears, rants, belts and yells in this spit-fire performance of everything that is undemocratic about this world.
As they pick apart politics, from Thatcher to May, the pair make us laugh even in the darkest moments of recent history. Damning the gap between rich and poor, they don’t shy away from naming and shaming. Since the past and present are pretty bleak, they imagine the future. Jonny thrives and abandons Paddy, swans take over and Andrew Lloyd Webber orchestrates the sinking of their friendboat (yes, boat).
Donahoe and Gervers aren’t afraid to stick their colours to the mast in this passionate, frenzied tirade. They are the most wonderful team, their camaraderie shining through their gleaming sweaty smiles as they chase each other round the Roundabout, matching each other’s energy. Above all, they tell us that what really matters is friendship. A touching, quieter moment comes with their explanation of their work with the homeless charity Crisis, where they give people a space to simply express themselves, sing and learn to play guitar.
Hard hitting facts are thrown in between comedy rifs throughout, but it’s the last few minutes of the show that really get the point across. They use the play to send a message to their parents, and to set a good example to those in a privileged position who want to do something about the raging inequality.
Jonny and the Baptists’ passionate hatred for privilege moves further than just singing silly songs about it, but the silly songs are pretty great too. Though untidy and a little bit ludicrous, Eat The Poor is undoubtedly one of the funniest plays about the depressing politics of our time.