The Deer Johns: A Journey

A three-man band from Adelaide, Australia, tell an odd and very random story of one man’s travels through spoken word and song. There’s strong musicianship, with some cracking numbers and inventive lighting making for lovely moments, but there are also a lot of areas where the shows falls flat.

The show’s story becomes tedious and begins to feel more like an excuse for random tangents and playful covers as opposed to a cohesive set piece

The Deer Johns are somewhat of a quandary. They’re very good musicians with some solid original songs and covers. But their show is a rather odd one. A piece of storytelling with song, a sort of storybook jukebox musical, if you will. It’s a great idea and the band have clearly worked hard on the show but the narrative tying it together makes no sense. And as much as it’s meant to be ludicrous and nonsensical, the charm wears thin as the show goes on. A lot of the jokes fall flat and segues into song are often far from smooth. But there are some very strong moments. Every time the group break into their variations of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody it's good fun and the variations of other classic songs from bands such as Travis and The Proclaimers are also highly enjoyable, bringing energy and dynamism to the show. It’s in the band’s own songs where they really shine and it’s clear that these three chaps are talented performers; just look at the amount of instruments they utilise, with guitar, keyboard, double bass, accordion, drums and others used to great effect between the trio.

It’s just that the charm wears thin as the show goes go on. The show’s story becomes tedious and begins to feel more like an excuse for random tangents and playful covers as opposed to a cohesive set piece. It’s a quirky show, with hints of Flight of the Concords in there, but in the future, the band might want to find better material to accompany their songs.

Reviews by Dave House

Space Triplex / theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Sink

★★★★
theSpace on Niddry St

The Deer Johns: A Journey

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Let The Deer Johns take you on a whimsical journey through time and space, using their unique brand of storytelling weaved through original and interpreted music. Part musical, part story, part comedy (sometimes intentional). Sold out at Adelaide Fringe every year since 2011. Featuring the music of The Deer Johns, Queen, David Bowie, The Beatles, Eagles, U2, The Police, Travis, The Proclaimers, Survivor, Men at Work and Split Enz. ‘They're really good’ (Andrew's mum).