Project Adorno's Top Ten of Popular Culture

Do you like Art Brut? Half Man Half Biscuit? Have you ever heard of Ian Sinclair? If the answer to any of these questions is 'no' then you may be bemused, vexed and possibly appalled by Project Adorno's Top Ten of Popular Culture, a musical comedy double-act consisting of one librarian and one 'serial library user', both in suits and one genuinely wearing a flat-cap. If, however, you're anything like me, you'll be in nerd heaven.The show takes the something arbitrary form of a trip through the top twenty favourite leisure activities of the British public - as compiled by the National Office of Statistics. It features spectacularly wonky songs on acoustic guitar and laptop computer about topics as diverse as the National Trust, recommended reading and the annoyance caused by football fans who refer to their team in the first person plural – an idiosyncrasy the song points out is not shared by the admirers of Jethro Tull. The six-strong audience is perfectly primed for this frame of reference; it seems that every member is able to recognise at least one British coastal amusement arcade from a slide of four, though maybe that's just pier pressure.This isn't for everyone, much as it pains me to admit the fact – the singing is wonky, the showmanship embarrassing, and the performers keep walking in front of a Powerpoint presentation they're clearly still not quite sure how to work. If this DIY aesthetic (to put it kindly) is a problem for you, then you might want to give this performance a miss – but life isn't artistically polished or perfect and in their own shy, witty way, this duo struggle towards articulating the heart of a certain type of modern experience, drowning in 'so many meaningless options' but nonetheless celebrating every aspect of our cultural detritus, with the glee of Jonathan Richman, MJ Hibbett, and countless other artists that you might also have missed out on if you like your music neat and tidy.I loved every minute. It's clear this show won't make a profit, and if it did, its creators would probably just spend it on admission to transport museums. It deserves to. The only thing stopping me giving this show five stars is the knowledge that not everyone likes the same thing I do: if they did, this show would sell out the Pleasance. But maybe it's for the best that it isn't. Project Adorno are the true spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe – two middle-aged man failing to harmonise about Jeremy Paxman in an empty basement. Please see this show so no one else has to feel embarrassed about laughing this loudly in a room of six people. On your way out, singing 'I Am The M25' on the George IV Bridge may not be advisable – but if you're anything like me, it might just be unavoidable. Go on. You'll make their day.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

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The Blurb

From 'Avatars' to 'Zeitgeists', cabaret duo Project Adorno return for wordy, nerdy countdown of all things pop, exploring society's passion for 'best of' lists. 'Like the FT sung by Soft Cell' (CultureDeluxe Magazine).

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