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Two Paul Johnsons Build a Better Sitcom

Just the Tonic at The Mash House ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

August 11, 2022 at 3:50:00 PM

I’ve heard it said that a Fringe show is often only as good as the audience, for this show (in the eyes of this reviwer at least) never has a truer word been spoken. Every person in this audience was fully engaged with the show and enjoyed the show! Unfortunately, perhaps for our two performers, this was as the audience consisted of one person, yes for the first time ever I attended a show and was the entire audience.

I had always wondered what this might be like, for me and for the performer(s). Would things carry on as normal? Would we simply go into the bar for a pint and a chat? Would we all call it a day and go on our way? I’m happy to say

An audience member would be chosen at random to spin the wheel to decide which TV genre or show they would talk about (spoiler, they chose me). The audience member (me) then retains control of the wheel at the end of each round by answering a quiz question on that genre correctly therefore retaining control of the wheel and choosing the material for each round of the show. I’m proud to say that I retained control of the wheel for the entire show!

I’m not sure how much of the show ran as it might normally but there wasn’t much sitcom building as the show title promised but this didn’t really matter, the two Pauls took the situation in good humour, we were all on first name terms within a minute and it became a bit of a chat from the stage to the audience (me but also with a shout for Ben who was teching the show and the 4th person in the room). They obviously have a great rapport and the kind of relationship only a father and son can have, at ease and poking fun at each other, which transfers well to me, a father of two and, happy to take the mickey out of my own teenage sons.

The idea itself works fairly well, the interactivity with the audience is a fun addition, although in fairness I imagine it would be even better with more people in. If there are issues with the show it may be that some of the humour is a little too American oriented and may not land completely with an international audience. There is a very good joke about their time in China and the name of Paul Jnr’s little brother which took me a few beats to get (as I realised who he meant). However, the time had clearly gone for the entire audience to laugh (sorry Paul!), and I feel that people who don’t know their US Sport would miss it completely.

I therefore need wonder no more as to how being the only person in the audience might feel. I’ll be honest, as much as it was great to be the centre of attention in an audience focused show, I felt awful for the Pauls. I appreciate how much work, effort (and money) goes into producing and putting on an Edinburgh Fringe show and to see such limited numbers of people coming through the doors must be terrible. I didn’t have close to enough money in my pockets to put into the bucket at the end of the show!

If you love TV or pop culture, if you’re a father, a son or even if you’re none of these things go and see the two Paul Jonhsons, get involved, spin their wheel and enjoy yourself, this is a show that deserves a (much) bigger audience.

Every member of the show

(L:R) Our reviewer Carl, Paul Johnson, Ben, Paul Johnson

Two Paul Johnsons Build a Better Sitcom
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