Thursday, April 1, 2010

Comedy Fest review: The List Operators for Kids


I saw The List Operators' Richard Higgins do a kids show at the Adelaide Fringe last year and was impressed – this pair treat comedy for children with the kind of seriousness it requires and this show gives kids a lot of what they want: the chance to swear, for instance. It's quite clever that way.

But what makes shows like this most interesting for me is the chance to observe the audience (I don't mean that to sound as creepy as it does). At the List Operators' show I noticed that kid audiences bear a lot of similarities to adult audiences in terms of variety of makeup. There was the bunch of little boys who spread out and sat slack-jawed until the opportunity to throw things at the performers came up and they went nutso; the kids who were desperate to be picked when audience involvement arose, and those who shrunk in fear; the ones who over-invested in the fantasy on stage and flinched or gasped at each turn; the ones who seemed very serious and attentive; the ones who wanted to be heard laughing and the ones embarrassed at their own response. You could sort of guess who'd grow up to be the bunch of blokes who turn up to comedy gigs in sombreros demanding big laughs, and who'd be looking for involving narratives and charming storytelling, and even who might end up a critic.

Of course people change, so those projections are pretty lightweight. I don't have a childling of my own so I don't know how the show really goes for kids, but the crowd jumping around outside seemed to have had a great time, as did the adultoids with them.

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