Emily Pritchard reviews Harry and Chris Save the World at the Edinburgh Fringe
Harry and Chris have definitely perfected a formula that works for them and their audience. Harry has a speedy mouth and an even speedier mind: he excels at saying words very fast, and his improvised section and free flowing association is truly impressive. The wordplay itself can be very funny: the Chen Chen the panda song makes a euphemism out of “eats, shoots and leaves”, and a whole piece based on ice-cream puns was another highlight. The audience participation they encouraged was very successful, sometimes a difficult feat for an afternoon show.
However, some of the lyrics verge on cheesy, for example, “every day the world ends and begins… every day is precious”. I’d like to hear more songs from them which last beyond the novelty, songs I’d want to listen to again: “Drop in the Ocean” is their strongest. The whole thing is vaguely reminiscent of a children’s TV show, from the jingly songs to Harry and Chris’ brightly coloured jumpsuits, to them pretending to speak Martian. Their “comedy rap jazz superpowers” are used as a structuring device to thread the variety of songs together, but the concept felt a little forced, and its conclusion that “maybe you don’t need superpowers to save the world” was rather predictable.
In the end, this is a feel-good, hopeful show, which the audience definitely enjoyed. Their closing song, with the refrain “fear only has the power you give it” was excellent, and tackled contemporary politics directly, including listing things that immigrants have brought to Britain. I leave knowing for certain that comedy rap jazz is a thing, though not entirely convinced that it should be. But if you’re looking for a fun take on UK current affairs, or want to find out what happens when you cross Beyoncé with the Teletubbies, then do check out their UK tour this Autumn, and decide for yourself.