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Abandoman: Pic ‘N’ Mixtape
At Chortle Fast Fringe 2010
What's In Your Pocket?
|More Abandoman: Pic ‘N’ Mixtape videos|
|At Chortle Fast Fringe 2010|
This year’s winners of the Hackney Empire New Act Of The Year and Musical Comedy Awards. Rob Broderick and multi-instrumentalist James Hancox are Abandoman, who make their Edinburgh Festival debut this year. Hilarious musical sketches are created at lightning speed live in front of their audience. No two gigs are ever the same. They re-invent hip hop in a way that appeals to even its most ardent detractors.
Abandoman: Pic ‘N’ Mixtape
Abandoman frontman Rob Broderick has a dazzling talent, which he wears lightly. He makes the ability to ad lib hip-hop rhymes instantaneously, wittily and near seamlessly look as natural as breathing. It’s a jaw-droppingly impressive gift.
Why only three stars, then? Blame the law of diminishing returns. See this over 20 minutes, and I guarantee you’ll be blown away. When the same trick is pulled for the full hour, with little variation, you start to treat that talent as commonplace, even though it quite clearly isn’t.
Accompanied by guitarist James Hancox, Broderick gets the improv off to a cracking, pacy start by inviting the audience to wave random objects in the air, which the good-natured Irishman raps about spontaneously. It certainly sets the mood for the ‘genuine hip hop’ party that he promises – and delivers.
Next comes an ambitious musical, based on the lives of two random audience members. Tonight it took a medical theme with an occupational health therapist who helps neurology outpatients recover (comedy gold!) and an anaesthetist, whose job proved a definite tongue-twister for the affable Broderick. After interrogating them both about their lives and dreams, the mini-rap spectacular is on, and again Broderick proves himself a fluid and funny freestyler, even with this most specific of briefs.
Though the banter, both rhymed and spoken, is engaging, the formula does weaken with repetition. The duo try to inject some semblance of variety into their format, impersonating the cadences of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Kayne West (thank you, vocoder), but the trick is essentially the same.
But my, what a trick. And once they figure out how to harness it for an extended period, the world – or at least the world of improv-rap-comedy – will be theirs.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 17th Aug, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
"This year’s winners of the Hackney Empire New Act Of The Year and Musical Comedy Awards..." That's right Brian. Definitely not good enough for musical comedy.
Improv music is hard to do but Flight of the Conchords already excel in this area. Also Mr Broderick doesn't rap in time AT ALL. Often you can't hear the words or rhymes. It is such a one-note show. I agree with the reviewer for the musical comedy showcase - it's just not good enough to be 'musical' comedy. Again, as with so many acts now - hype over substance.
Easily one of the best shows I've seen in Edinburgh. Rob Broderick is a very inspired performer who's incredible at improvising. However, an hour of him doing this over pretty uninspired folky guitar playing does make one wish for a bit of variety in the musical area. But 10/10 for Rob alone.