After a tough year in which Jonny Donahoe almost died from Covid and Paddy Gervers had a breakdown, musical comedy duo Jonny & The Baptists appear visibly nourished to be performing again. Opening with the synth pop of 'Never Too Late', a hilariously defeatist toe-tapper in which the pair twist uplifting platitudes and cliches into pessimism, they're bowed but not completely broken. In that vein though, they've ceded the field of socialist struggle that built their reputation, save for sarcastically taking onboard the government's lockdown advice for artists to retrain in “Cyber”, by setting up an incompetent detective agency. Instead, there's an emphasis on silliness for its own sake, with 'Cocaine Gran' driven by its own gleeful naughtiness and even their digs at the Royal Family couched in a running gag in which Donahoe dates the widowed Queen.
If anything's replaced the politics-shaped hole in their set, it's sending up an older power structure, that of religion, with extracts from their supposed Christian allegory musical. Inhabited by the spirit of a petty, unhinged, capricious Old Testament deity, Donahoe is a riot, visiting plagues of frogs on anything and everything. And though there's rather too much faffing and talking over one another as they (apparently genuinely) debate the end of their set, you delight in their cross-talking friendship. Stripped of some of their satirical spikiness, vulnerable and somewhat defeated, it's a minor revelation to realise just how loveable Donahoe and Gervers are together. It's great to have them recovering.