The nation’s favourite comedy-jazz-rap duo (their words) are back in Edinburgh with more of their trademark musical comedy, playing at Just the Tonic at The Mash House all this month. They’ve known each other since school and have been gigging together for over 10 years, but their recent appearances on The Russell Howard Hour shot them to prominence – and helped convince them that their songs may actually have superpowers…
As you may have guessed from this year’s show title, the link that runs through their songs is that they may or may not be able to save the world (one step at a time) with their comedy-jazz-rap numbers. Either that or the world is simply just full of coincidences!
After introducing themselves in song form (a great way to begin for anyone in the audience who’s not familiar with their work, as it sets the tone for the show straightaway), we start hearing about some of the effects of their proposed superpowers. I never thought I’d ever hear a song sung from the perspective of a female panda, but I can now tick that one off the list! More specifically it’s about Tian Tian, Edinburgh Zoo’s resident female panda; Harry and Chris performed this song nearly every day at last year’s festival stint, and by the end of the month it was announced that she was pregnant. Clearly the result of a comedy-jazz-rap song, right?
Though Harry’s poem in support of his wife’s application for a job in a Margate ice cream parlour didn’t work out, and the same goes for the duo’s England World Cup song, I’d definitely argue that they do have their own brand of superpowers. Not only must it take an incredible amount of memory power to remember an hour’s worth of material (there are a lot of words to pop out), but it’s just so funny that it immediately makes your day better for having heard them perform. There is a comedy magic sprinkled throughout their set that is uniquely theirs.
Who else would invite suggestions of things to work into a freestyle rap, that (at my show) included ‘mummy’, ‘drum & bass’, ‘tap dancing’, and ‘Ben Stokes’? Ensuring each show retains an element of individuality, and in this case forcing Chris to improvise “drum & base tap dancing” (rendering Harry momentarily incapable of continuing), this is the kind of feel-good fare that puts a smile of genuine joy on your face. If you come out of a comedy show with cheeks aching from laughing, then you know the people onstage are doing something right.
My verdict? An hour of whimsical & quirky musical comedy that is guaranteed to make your day better – if anyone can save the world with jazz & poetry, it’s Harry and Chris!
Harry and Chris Save the World runs at Just the Tonic at The Mash House (Just the Cask Room) until 25 August 2018 (2.25pm, 1 hour). Tickets are available online or from the box office.