Comedy Review: The Axis Of Awesome

Edinburgh Festival 2011

One of the great things about the festival is the contrast in performances, styles, venues and atmospheres. Surely there are few other places where you can go from an underground basement room with six other people watching a Geordie comedian flogging his comedy heart and soul out for little noticeable effect to a three hundred seat venue to see, what could be, the slickest show in all Edinburgh.

The Axis Of Awesome are youtube sensations having received over 20 million hits on their four chord song and from this not quite so lowly position they now find themselves touring internationally and playing one of Edinburgh’s biggest venues. The question remains, will they make the transition from online stars to real-stars successfully or will it feel like watching a mate who everyone says is funny because of one thing they did but ultimately they’ve become your ego-tastic friend who everyone hates because he gets sex with inappropriately attractive girls because he’s the guy from that thing which actually, though good at the time, was somewhat a one-hit wonder.

Happily The Axis have made a very successful transition, in an exciting and precise show so choreographed it makes the Royal Ballet look like they mess around on stage. Their brand of musical comedy is epic, it replicates, enhances and occasionally exceeds the artists they’re emulating. Their use of wordplay in their opening number, a love song, perfectly parodies the formulaic way in which pop music has developed, with token members of the band to add whispered commentary and others, clearly less talented (although not in the Axis’ case) adding the cringeworthly and often pleading rap section.

All three members of the group are fantastic instrumentalists and vocalists and utlise (or fail to utilise) their talents to the best of their ability, their harmonies intertwine perfectly, they pass responsibility for punchlines around the group leading to a sense of entirely predictable unpredicatablility. Reoccuring themes link the show together, and never before have I seen so many possibilites following the line, “I don’t want to close my eyes, don’t want to fall asleep cos…”.

This isn’t deep, spiritual, life-affirming comedy, but it is tremendous fun, perfectly slick, entirely silly, occasionally insightful and well worth twelve of your hard earned pounds.

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