Review: Abandoman: Party In The Key Of C Major – Pleasance Queen Dome, Edinburgh.
I’ve seen quite a few improvised shows in my time, but I’ve certainly never seen an improvised, comedy rap show. Even if I had, I’m sure it wouldn’t rival Abandonman, who present a show packed so full of energy and chutzpah – not to mention the rhyming skills of a youthful Eminem – that it feels like it should be set in a Detroit basement club instead of the Pleasance Queen Dome.
Abandoman (a.k.a. Rob Broderick and his musical sidekick Rob Grundel) really does have it all. To say Rob’s a skilled poet is a bit of an understatement. He also doesn’t waste any time: from the second the show starts he’s pouncing on audience members and getting them involved in his strange, fantasy world.
Pretending he knows the punters is central to the way the act works, so much so that he makes us all wear name badges so he can leap from person to person more effectively.
Once he’s conjured up a narrative of mingled fact and fiction from the audience’s startled, on the spot reactions (for example, deciding an audience member is his uncle and/or also afraid of dinosaurs) he sets about weaving the story into a dizzying, fast-paced rap. Another section sees him take people’s various work problems – including being bullied by 8 year olds – and set them to a hip hop beat.
It really is dazzling. So much so you feel quite taken aback at the talent on display, especially as (no offence intended, Rob) he’s a slightly unlikely genius. In fact he looks a bit like a bloke you’d see waiting for a number 11 bus in your local town centre: shirt hanging out, buzzcut hairdo, ever so slightly overweight.
But that’s part of the beauty of the act; he’s certainly a refreshing change from the over-coiffed, skinny young men with Russell Kane comb-overs you see peering down at you from every poster during the Fringe. Not to mention the fact that both he and Rob are genuinely friendly, taking the time to shake everyone’s hands and wish them well as they leave the venue at the end of the show.
Rob’s also addicted to showing off, in a good way. At one point he makes up a hilarious off the cuff rap based on things that the audience hand to him. Tonight, he gets sim cards, flyers and hand mirrors amongst many other things. And it’s perfect; nothing makes him drop the rhythm or stumble over a rhyme. In fact, at one point he even manages to work out 3 x 26 while rapping.
I can’t even do that when I’m not rapping. In fact, I can barely do it with a calculator.
Abandoman’s talent really has to be seen to be believed, so go and see this show. And make sure you take something interesting along with you in your pockets; possibly a Xylophone. Rob likes a challenge.
Date of live review: Wednesday 8th August 2012.