Review – Adam Kay’s Smutty Songs, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe

Thursday 25 August 2011

The Edinburgh Fringe has more repetitions than a radish and pepper salad, q.v.  3 Nunsenses, 2 Oedipusses (or is that Oedipie?), 2 Metamorphoses, 2 Macbeths, 2 Othellos, and 2 (at least) magicians doing the same guillotine trick – you can’t say that a lot of the shows here don’t do what’s on other people’s tins.

But it’s unlikely we’ll see another Adam Kay’s Smutty Songs which sees the dourly likeable Adam Kay sitting at a piano playing pop songs but replacing the lyrics with his own hilarious and occasionally smutty inventions and punchline puns.

He chases through the numbers, frequently ending a song abruptly on the punchline before moving straight onto the next. It’s almost stand-up with the gags set to music. It’s difficult to explain without giving away the jokes but believe us that it’s very rewarding. We were guffawing all over the shop at rewrites such as (SPOILER) “My (Gordon) Brown Eyed Girl”.

Knocking back a bottle of white wine in the process, Mister Kay tells us that the show ends when the bottle’s empty (though we presume this is watered down apple juice or something) but he then proceeds to get through a bottle of red and we can attest that this was indeed the real thing as a glass was offered to (and needless to say accepted by) Andrew. Either way, the drinking is either impressive or very worrying depending on your take.

A running gag involving audience participation, with a take on annoyingly insistent and much-covered Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is so daftly ingenious you’ll never hear the song in the same way again.

There are only a couple of mis-fires and one moment of weirdness when the early heterosexually inclined songs are undermined by the news that Kay is actually gay. But this really is a most entertaining show and everyone should go see it.



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