They say to never work with children. After watching this performance of Lissa and NeeNee’s Riverside Adventure I could see why. At the start of the show, they invited children to come onstage whenever they want or to dance around in the audience. When some members of the eager audience were only too happy to take them up on that offer, I was curious to see how they dealt with it; it is ok having a child join you onstage for a song or two, quite another for them to be so eager for the spotlight that they refuse to leave. Yet there was no need to worry. Panicked parents can sit back and relax while watching this show, knowing that if their little darlings start raiding the percussion props or wandering aimlessly round the stage, this Australian duo will manage to incorporate it gracefully into the show.
Although perhaps the parents should not relax too much. This show is very keen on getting the audience to join in, whether that be through singing, dancing, acting or shaking an egg. This means that there is always something to get involved with, without it feeling like there are constant demands being placed on the audience. Just when it feels like too much might have been asked of the crowd, Lissa and NeeNee change the mood, altering the pace and involvement throughout, going through a range of songs, from musical numbers to popular nursery rhymes to gospel music rewritten to talk about animals.
Vaguely themed around an adventure near the river, with puppet animals and many a sing-a-long, the show’s real appeal are the personas of the two performers. Lissa is glamorous but approachable, so stylish that she looks like in another life she could be a burlesque dancer. NeeNee has a touch of the lovable nerd about him, complete with a wry sense of humour which may amuse the adults. Although this show won’t appeal to adults quite as much as children, all the grown-ups were also smiling along and enjoying themselves, perhaps partly because songs like ‘Shake a Tail Feather’ can be guaranteed to get the parents up and dancing as well as the children. It felt like a very speedy 40 minutes, never allowed to flag for instant and, because of that, the crowds should come flooding in to enjoy this riverside adventure.