Review: The Axis of Awesome: Cry Yourself A River – Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh.
One of Australia’s most famous musical comedy exports, The Axis of Awesome, are back in Edinburgh this year with a brand new show for 2012. Cry Yourself A River, their latest offering, is a brilliant new epic which opens on the virtues of reading the first novel, a distinctly nerdy rock ‘n’ roll agenda that echoes the very ethos of this group.
Jordan, Lee and Benny make up The Axis of Awesome. Jordan is the larger than life lead singer and commander of the group; while Lee and Benny strike more of an awkward position either side of their rock ‘n’ roll band mate. The dynamic is captivating, though. The banter in between songs is carried along by the awkward moments created by socially unaware Benny and Lee, but they also set up a fairly structured narrative that returns throughout the show.
Much of this show is devoted to taking a side swipe at critics of musical comedy. Their take on modern music, dance and dub step in particular cuts to the vein with absolute pinpoint accuracy, so much so that you’ll find it difficult to ever listen to the genre again without having a little chuckle. And they also hit back with some degree of irony at those who think their style is lazy and that anyone can make a success in comedy music.
While the point is true in many cases, The Axis of Awesome have proven year after year that they are doing much more than taking a pre-existing song and messing around with it to get a laugh.
And that’s basically what they’re illustrating here in Cry Yourself A River.
The Axis of Awesome are a big, daft and silly way to spend your time in Edinburgh. This isn’t sophisticated comedy but nor should it be, really; Jordan, Lee and Benny have tapped into a rich vein of comedy that few can successfully negotiate, and I, for one, am glad that they’re still creating consistently funny material in 2012.
Date of live review: Tuesday 7th August 2012.