Just the Tonic at the Mash House (Venue 288)
Comedy (Music, Spoken Word)
Harry Baker and Chris Read playfully joke that they are no longer found in the Spoken Word section of the Edinburgh Fringe guide. Following feedback on 2016’s ‘The Harry and Chris Show,’ their audience had found them too funny. As such, they entered the 2017 program under the comedy category, and are already surprising audiences with the amount of poems in their show.
Despite this, ‘The Harry and Chris Show 2’ is a show that precisely understands it’s intentions. Blending Flight of the Conchord’s-esque absurdist lyrics with smart musicianship, Baker and Read have confidently established themselves as the apex of jazz-poetry duoships. The setlist is taught and refined, with Christmas Cracker puns littered throughout; “I wanted to be a podiatrist / but I kept staring at defeat.”
Baker and Read radiate charisma throughout the show. Attracting an almost cult level of adoration from their audience, Read plays the beleaguered straight man to Baker’s razor-sharp wordplay. It is a delight to see Read take more of the lyricism over the course of the show, as the tonal shifts between melodic choruses and rapping verses emphasise each other’s strengths.
In demonstrating such creative flair, the weaker sections of the show are made all the more apparent. The melancholic love poem of Sir Kill-a-lot is a less impressive rehash of the melancholic love poem about a Giant Panda that precedes it. Furthermore, while ‘Harry and Chris’ and ‘I’m a Flipping 10’ are reliable crowd favourites, they are notably recycled from their 2016 show.
‘The Harry and Chris Show 2’ is another delightable outing by two artists at the top of their game. It is effortlessly charismatic, assuredly talented, and a delightful hour of entertainment.