Irish improv hip hop artist Rob Broderick returns to Edinburgh with his solo show, Pirate Radio. Unlike previous Abandoman shows, Pirate Radio is a big-scale production. He’s ditched the powerpoint and electric keyboard for strobe lighting and ground-shuddering bass.
Rather than lots of small instances of audience participation (note Abandoman’s previous set-piece, ‘What’s In Your Pocket?’ where audience members hold up the most obscure item on their possession and Broderick improvises a rap about it), volunteer participants in this new show are a far bigger part of the proceedings. If you have something funny or strange to offer up, prepare to have a musical piece devised entirely in your honour.
Single audience members are brought up to stand in front of a packed Udderbelly, and yet there is never any hint of anxiety. Rob puts his participants at ease by spelling out what he requires of them and never failing to make it silly.
Being a much bigger, much more refined performance, it feels at times as though Abandoman has lost its personal touch. But where this show lacks in intimacy, Broderick makes up for in showmanship. From a heart-wrenching song about leaving a sleeping bag on a train, to a musical re-enactment of a childhood three-legged race, Broderick’s skill for snappy improvisation is as present as ever.
If you want your comedy upscaled, exciting and as loud as a music gig, Abandoman is no doubt the show for you.