Comedy Review

My attempt to write a review on the Edinburgh fringe preview with Deon Vonnegut and Adam Kay.  I think I need an editor.


An evening with two performers, both of which use music in their shows to various degrees.

James Lark is a talented chap, writing, acting and composing are just a few of the strings to his bow.  In The Rise And Fall Of Deonne Vonnegut he mixes music and comedy with great effect.  The show is about a failed songwriter and his final performance.  Starting as a member of Pink Floyd he takes us through the decades stopping off at The Bee Gees, French cross dressing and Andrew Lloyd-Webber before finishing off, quite literally, where he started.

A polished performer, the surreal life of his subject easily comes to life.  The singing and playing fit well with the monologue and James keeps the audience captured throughout with songs about cardigans and cheese.  While very funny, the show sometimes verges on pathos centering, as it does, around the career failure of the titular character and his descent into depression.

Adam Kay’s performance as the ‘Amateur Transplants’, while also using music, was very different.  Unlike ‘Vonnegut’, Adam’s humour is much more of the schoolyard variety, concerned with ‘mucky stuff’, such as sex, disabled girlfriends and a new Gay Pride anthem.

Many people on the internet will have heard his ‘London Underground’ song, some may have heard the more medically based ‘Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin’.  The show is similar in that the humour is mostly based around the songs.  His drole delivery and timing of the jokes between the songs are also spot on.  There is much swearing in this show, and I can imagine some people being offended by some of the subject matter.  However it does highlight the very sick humour medical professionals often use to make it through the day.

Where the show excelled was in the short pieces, using music that is well known (Celine Dion’s song from ‘Titanic’ or James Blunt) with altered lyrics, Adam makes a punchline in a couple of bars.  These one-two punches, intermingled with the longer pieces, keep the laughs coming.

It will be interesting to see how the more medical based songs perform when there are fewer medics in the audience, something that Adam is aware of and so the content of the show may change.

The real barometer of how much I enjoyed myself at both shows is, quite simply, this – while the theatre was small, boiling hot and had uncomfortable seats, this was forgotten once the shows started.

An excellent pair of shows, and I would recommend anyone at Edinburgh to take time out to watch them.

 For booking details –

The rise and fall of Deonne Vonnegut

Amateur transplants


Disclaimer – Both James and Adam are published by The Friday Project, I am also published by them.  Once upon a time I wanted to do a medical/ambulance based stand-up.  Having seen the amount of work that goes into it, I’m not so sure…

6 thoughts on “Comedy Review”

  1. That'll be me then….A rather excellent night out with our illustrious host the comedy was spot on and as a fan of the Kevin bloody Wilson type song it was all I could do to control my mirth. Least there were a couple of medics who could stitch my sides up at the end of the show 😉

    The pubic vs. private persona debate was an odd one; having been reading this for about a year I thought I knew what to expect but as always was (pleasantly) surprised by how easy the evening was. There is a karma thing going on as well I have some spare tickets which Tom is welcome to for next Saturday so as long as his rota allows it will give some other person a chance to enjoy a random act of reality this time in Clapham!

  2. Having seen Amateur Transplants at the Fringe in Edinburgh last year, I can assure you there is unlikely to be a shortage of medics in the audience. Quite apart from the fact that the venue they use is a stones throw from the (now former) Edinburgh Medical School Quad, Embra toon has a huge medic and medical student population amongst whom Amateur Transplants are well known. That said, of the group I saw them with last year, only one third were medics- my parents, whilst one half were the children of medics (myself, my brother and my bro's girlfriend) one of six was a medical microbiologist (me, similar sense of humour, after all I work with a lot of dead bodies) and one was entirely non medical but perhaps a bit twisted (my boyfriend).They did a few non medical songs last time I saw them (one about cartoon animals taking on their real life counterpart's lives- bugs bunny ending his days with laboratoire garnier, for example) were good, but they didn't go down as well as the really poor taste medical ones. And the London Underground Song, which we all love.laputain

  3. Am certain we'll go to see them there, sounds great – I'd heard the underground song before, I'd not heard any of the other stuff though.<plug style="shameless">

    We (the Cambridge Medics Revue) are doing our own show up there – http://www.medicsrevue.co.uk/ – it's actually non medical sketches, but still seems to go down well amongst the students. Anyone who makes it there, come say hi, I'll be in the techie box

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