Known for creating hilarious songs and sketches at lightening speed, Abandoman have become one of the must see acts at Edinburgh this year, writes Nicky Sweetland.
In fact, the musical comedy duo performed to over 10,000 at lasts year’s festival and will return with a brand new show, which this year has been semi-written.
Winners of the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, Musical Comedy Awards and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Abandoman is made up of musician Sam Wilson and comedy Hip-hop artist Rob Broderick, who told me, “I think it’s going to be very cool and a lot of fun. It’s a nice healthy mix of written and freestyle stuff with some animation and it’s a way of bringing quite a surreal world to life.”
Following their appearance in Edinburgh, the pair – who are currently the resident band for Alan Carr’s Happy Hour (Channel 4) – will take their new show Life + Rhymes to the Soho Theatre.
“It’s a fictional biopic, but it’s fully freestyled. We’ve been doing freestyled songs for a long time and we got really excited about the audience making up part of the story with their characters.”
Rob explained that the show spans twenty years of the duo’s attempt to “make it” as a band and that the audience will not only witness the highs, lows and scandals, but they will form the supporting cast every night. “It’s set in the 90s in Ireland and the idea is that everyone who’s in the room was there at a moment of our journey in Hip-hop. Irish Hip-hop is pitched as a very dangerous world and it’s very silly. I wanted to create an hour show in which the crowd gets to go on a journey, not just within each song, but an overall journey.”
The improv double act has an enviable reputation in the world of comedy, with Rob’s absolute commitment to the rap being of the highest competence. He studied Hip-hop and came upon the comedy side of the art by accident, when he realised that his improvised raps were always a bit more comical than other performers.
Rob told me, “Standup and Hip-hop are my two loves and so naturally my freestyling somehow had a sillier slant”
His onstage partner, Sam has the amazing ability to layer sounds and make the music appear as if it has been prerecorded, so when the two play together, the quality of the Hip-hop is beyond reproach, something, which is very important to both performers.
“Myself and Sam take the music and the rapping incredibly seriously. It’s not one of those things where a comedy act thought hip hop would be a good way to get success”
When mixed with suggestions from the on-looking audience, the result is an exciting and extremely amusing hour of entertainment.
“We ask people for bespoke moments or bespoke opinions of their lives, but every opinion has more weight because it’s actually happened. We’re asking them for a minor irk they went through or rule they broke and when those things are good or really interesting, the room really gets behind it and it makes freestyling much easier.”
Rob explains, “It’s like if you’re a surfer. A good suggestion is like a big wave; you just want to ride it and you don’t have to work that hard to make it fun.”