Ren is performing before the show begins, making up a silly version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with the audience’s help. It was no way part of the show and was never referred to again but it gave us a taster of the ability of this storytelling duo to immediately get the young audience on side and engage them in the most entertaining manner. She welcomed everyone in, showing all the simultaneous concern and ease of the perfect hostess, inviting children to sit down near the front and moving bulky bags out of the aisle way.
When the show is almost about to start, she is joined by Gem and the pair of them bounce around the place, absolutely consummate performers. Their attitude towards participation is visible throughout the show. The twist on the traditional tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is that the audience get to fill in the blanks and instead it is the [something] who cried [something], which in our performance became the monkey who cried zombie pizzas. The pair were excellent at getting the crowd to contribute original and interesting ideas, trying to work with them to get imaginative ideas even when some children have essentially parroted their own suggestion back to them. Gem plays the character of the monkey while Ren reads the story and acts the townfolk. There are original songs played on Ren’s green ukulele which are actually surprisingly enjoyable. Altogether, it is playful, funny and fast moving.
Best of all, Gem and Ren work together really naturally, acting absolutely sincerely and avoiding talking down to the children, meaning that everyone in the audience was loving it and them. I hope that we will be seeing them at future Fringes, since children’s performers this good are a rare thing.