Family friendly comedy can be a little difficult to get right these days.
Go too safe, and you end up with a boring set. Too edgy or blue, and you get the tuts and huffs of outraged parents.
Harry Baker and Chris Read can hardly be said to have gone too safe. Now midway through their third UK tour, the duo’s unique ‘comedy-rap-jazz’ stylings made for a thoroughly pleasant evening of wholesome, clever wordplay.
It may not leave you with split sides, but you can hardly help leaving with a smile on your face.
Harry, a world champion slam poet and Chris, an accomplished jazz musician, have developed something of a following and play to their audience well.
Pandas, Teletubbies, and Beyoncé
Their Beyoncé x Teletubbies mashup was as smart as it was unexpected, the audience-prompted freestyle sections built a real rapport between performer and crowd and their song ‘Eats, Shoots, Leaves’ – from the perspective of Edinburgh Zoo panda Tian Tian, naturally – is an undeniable earworm.
There was a playful feel to the whole affair; there is no chance either of these clearly talented artists take their abilities too seriously, and both pass the litmus test of being someone you’d like to go to the pub with.
The overriding message of their work is one of optimism and positivity, and you do certainly find yourself getting on board with it.
“Big One!” Chris being a humming mouse eating sherbert lemon off some crisps, as you do… Manchester you were everything we hoped for and more, we’re almost halfway through tour now and the freestyle sections seem to be getting more and more elaborate – London and Cambridge almost sold out but tix for these and more available on our website. Thanks everyone who has come out so far! #HACSTW #15Down18ToGo
Three claps and four groans
Whether it is their unflappable enthusiasm, World Cup flashbacks, or relentless punnery, there was something there to win round even the most stone-hearted among the audience.
‘Three claps and four groans’ was one of the stand-out lines of the evening, throwaway as it may have been; you can see Harry’s genuine pleasure when he stumbles across a particularly cringeworthy pun.
You could say that some of the numbers drag a little towards the end of the show, and relying on the comedic input of the audience for Harry’s freestyle is a dangerous game.
But it isn’t a show that leaves you wanting to pick fault. It puts a smile on your face, Chris’ lilting rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World casting a warm glow over an audience about to head back out into a cold November night.
What more could you want from an evening of comedy rap jazz?
Here it is – All 31 dates of our UK tour in their poster-y glory! It’s our biggest tour yet and we’d love to see some friendly faces on the way – have you got your tickets from https://t.co/nUYABab4nI yet? #HACSTW pic.twitter.com/kzfTbZjMjq
— Harry and Chris (@harrynchris) August 31, 2018
Image courtesy of Harry and Chris via Twitter, with thanks.