Given the tumultuous events which have dominated the headlines since slam poet Harry Baker and jazz musician Chris Read made their Edinburgh Fringe debut with last year’s Ronseal-inspired show The Harry and Chris Show – namely, the three T’s of Terrorism, Trump and Theresa “get thee to a nunnery” May – songs and raps about the mating habits of pandas, Harry’s belated conversion to vegetarianism and the joys of playing Monopoly bring two words to mind: bland and twee.
However, their well-crafted and gently humorous lyrics, not to mention endearing bromance and effortless way they shoot the breeze between and sometimes during songs, is a winning combination. And what’s more, they have an honesty and (dare I say it) niceness about them which adds a healthy splosh of optimism to our glass half-empty cocktails of doom and gloom. Though judging by their wholesome image and swear-free wordplay (an improvisational rhyme with “shunt” was politely parked and the closest they came to an obscenity was when Harry let rip with a well-timed “fart”), that splosh is likely be tonic water – slimline!
Sure, I would have appreciated more topical and biting material. But don’t be fooled into thinking their hour-long preview for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe lacks depth and sophistication. It doesn’t. For towards the end two compositions stand out which stir the heart and crystallise their positive outlook on life: one about the fact that nobody knows jack shit about anything and that we’re all just “holding on” as best we can; the other encouraging us to think more highly of ourselves and others because, in the words of the great French philosopher L’Oréal, we’re “worth it”.
During the latter, they encourage the audience to turn to the person next to them and proudly proclaim that they are a “ten” (as in ten out of ten). The show itself might not rate as highly as that, but it easily matches Harry’s verdict of his younger self: seven going on eight. And the improvisational section during which he incorporates obscure job titles as suggested by the deliberately mischievous audience into a freestyle rap accompanied with the honey-voiced Chris on guitar deserves three T’s of its own: Tricky but Triumphant and Tight as a female panda’s mating window which we are reliably informed is a mere 48 hours!
For information about their 2017 Edinburgh Fringe run check out: HERE