By S Mulvihill
The Rubberbandits have developed cult status through their YouTube videos of satirical songs and their die-hard fan base is always out in force, complete with their own plastic bag head gear to mark them out as devotees. As they perform their songs in their return to the Edinburgh Fringe it is easy to see why their peculiar brand of humour appeals to so many. Singing live to pre-recorded backing tracks, with their music videos projected on a screen behind them, this delightfully shambolic comedy duo from Limerick lurch from number to number with rambling links and banter in between.
The Rubberbandits set up the show on the premise that the evening was supposed to be a musical but their backing video has experienced a technical failure, so they’ll have to do their normal routine. The songs themselves are occasionally hilarious. Covering a range of topics that would delight any programmer of teen TV looking for deep and meaningful ‘after-school specials’, the Rubberbandits put a healthy dollop of wry, irreverent comedy into their lyrics. The highlights to the set have to be ‘Dad’s Best Friend’ and ‘Spoiling Ivan’, the latter being a song about an adult man who befriends a 6 year old boy. The joke comes from the image in the video of a half naked grown man with a bag over his head skipping and playing with a young child where the lyrics are completely innocent. The duo cleverly highlight society’s overly cautious attitudes to child protection and preconceptions, turning them on their heads and challenging the social norms. In fact the best of their songs do this, though sometimes the lyrics are too quick to really hear and process all they’re saying. The links between the songs can be messy and often quite long which loses the energy the two create so well during the musical numbers. As the main comedy comes from the projected videos, and given that they are all available on YouTube, it’s a bit hard to see the point in going to a live show unless you are a dedicated fan.
There is an easy-going, laid back atmosphere to the performance and the bar remains open throughout, which probably adds to the appeal. This is more of a gig by a band than a comedy show, with seating being limited and most of the audience choosing to stand in the pit in front of the stage instead. The 20:15 slot feels too early for a show like this; a bit later on would be more appropriate for the relaxed ambiance the Rubberbandits create. A special guest completes the evening with words of wisdom and everyone leaves happy and entertained: after all, in the mild chaos, the songs are highly witty and enjoyable
Nightclub, Gilded Balloon (Venue 14), 13-17, 19-25th 20:15 (65mins) £12/10 (£14/12 Fri/Sat)