Were you to design a concept for a show that ticks all the boxes from your wildest fantasies, if any festival in the world could fulfil your wishes, it’s Edinburgh Fringe. Well, my fantasies are pretty wild, and Edinburgh Fringe responded to them in the form of Rob Deering’s Beat This. Interactive quiz element? Check. Variety of comedians to enjoy? Check. Range of musical challenges encompassing many decades and genres? Check. Audience suggestions for improv? Warm community atmosphere in the audience? Hugely talented and likable host? Check, check, and check again.
Deering is that rare type of comedian who is universally likable
Rob Deering’s Beat This is an engaging and eclectic musical gameshow, with plenty of opportunity for the audience to show off their musical knowledge, challenge the host’s own prowess and improv skills, or just sit back and enjoy it, safe in the understanding that nobody will get picked on unwillingly. As a host, Rob Deering is (not the first reviewer to use this adjective, surely not the last) endearing, and that rare type of comedian who is universally likable. He is a true authority on music, able to spontaneously replicate most of the audience’s suggested songs - be it on guitar, recounting lyrics or, at the very least, a close approximation of the tune - regardless of genre, obscurity, or even century of release!
The format is strong, with a range of different musical mash-ups and themed rounds containing well chosen and expertly performed songs that will challenge and delight the smuggest of musical aficionados. The rounds are all staples of music quizzes, so if you’re looking for a show that reinvents the gameshow format with new concepts, kindly move along. The description of the show states that the comedians and audience are pitted against each other and, while we do have the opportunity to fill in answers missed by the comics, our score as a team isn’t taken down and the competition remains with the two sides on stage.
His panel of comedy contestants on this night – the first of eight shows this Fringe – were beatboxer Hobbit, and comedians Jarred Christmas, Jenny Collier and Mark Nelson. They were all decent and inoffensive, and each got laughs, but there wasn’t much chemistry between them and I doubt anyone in the audience left blessing their luck that they picked the perfect show to attend. The format also didn’t afford the performers the opportunity to plug their own shows at the close, which is usually a fitting way to tie up a show with guest acts. In the end though, it was Deering who stole the show, and that’s probably how it should be.