There are many children’s shows at the Fringe that seem to follow the formula of throwing a couple of popular franchises together with whatever kids currently like, before adding some by-the-numbers audience participation. This often results in a soulless show that takes itself very seriously and lacks the most important ingredient in a children’s show: fun!
Higgins and Kelly ‘get’ children; they don’t talk down and they understand that a well-placed fart sound can be funniest thing in the world
The Listies consists of Matt Kelly and Richard Higgins and they have packed their show to bursting with fun. Everyone in the room is having a great time, but maybe not quite as much fun as the Listies themselves who are clearly loving every anarchic moment.
The Listies 6D (twice as good as 3D) show is full of juvenile humour, fart jokes, silly string, dirty pants and smelly socks. It’s everything that makes children laugh and to see two grown men leading the charge is delightful. Higgins and Kelly ‘get’ children; they don’t talk down and they understand that a well-placed fart sound can be funniest thing in the world if played correctly. They’re grown ups who misbehave as grown ups. This isn’t the fake mischief of pretending to be childlike; Higgins and Kelly regularly corpse at each other’s ad-libbed jokes and they’re happy to run with whatever randomness the audience of enthusiastic children throws at them.
There’s audience participation galore and, if your little one wants to feel involved, there’s plenty of opportunities. Kelly and Higgins play the room like pros and work hard to ensure that every child who wants to be heard gets a chance to be heard: a final act sees us all become extras in a blockbuster sci-fi action movie.
As I left the theatre, I saw many of the children ‘face-texting’ (see the show for an explanation) ‘wow’ and ‘lol’ in response to their parents asking if they’d enjoyed the show. I believe that The Listies are showing the next generation that you can make a career out of having fun and being silly with your best mate and that’s about the most special thing you can do for their future.