There has been clearly a lot of time, love and thought spent on Joseph Morpurgo’s show Soothing Sounds for Baby, named (it is assumed) after Raymond Scott’s 1962 album. Structured around a fictitious interview between Morpurgo and Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs—Young’s part painstakingly and hilariously formed of various snippets from the archive—recordings naturally become the stimulus for Morpurgo’s individual comedy.
He begins with a very funny reimagining of the late Joseph Cooper, he of dummy keyboard and hidden melody fame, but presented here as a rather more sinister copy of the original. The audience are enthusiastic to take part, even where this involves group singing led by Cooper, and this whole segment is both amusing and fun. As the Desert Island Disc story proceeds, each record Morpurgo chooses triggers a similar interlude—a grime rap based on a golf instruction LP; a scary interpretation of an A.A. Milne recording; coaching in the art of seduction by Stanley Clarke—some of these working better than others.
The show is gentle and intelligent, and despite the humour, it is plain that Mururgo does have a bit of a love affair with his found source material, and indeed possibly even Kirsty Young. However, the overall structure is a little bit too obvious and the humour is not always as sophisticated as it could be, perhaps depending somewhat too often on the premise that past tastes are inherently funny.
Despite this, he does manage to have the majority of the audience instantly on his side, and the feeling of general bonhomie is so strong, it is impossible not to enjoy the evening.