Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
The Listies Ruin Xmas, Nov 27, 2015 ***1/2
By The Listies; devised & performed by Richard Higgins & Matthew Kelly Malthouse Theatre, Nov 27 to Dec 13, 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:***1/2 Full review also published in Herald Sun in print & online on Mon Nov 30, 2015.KH
Richard Higgins & Matthew Kelly
domain of children’s theatre, The Listies are masters of audience participation
that mainly involves kids and parents excitedly chucking stuff at these
relentlessly cheerful performers.
joyfully shambolic show for the Malthouse, The Listies Ruin Xmas, Richard
Higgins and Matthew Kelly scramble around their scruffy stage indulging in all manner
of madcap, pre-Christmas escapades.
best tradition of slapstick comedy duos, Higgins plays the obliging and
tolerant straight man to Kelly’s adorable goofball, but to the audience they
are simply Rich and Matt.
man-boys conjure the spirit of Christmas Eve with a spindly, plastic Christmas
tree, piles of colourfully wrapped presents, bikkies and milk for Santa,
twinkling strings of lights and their big bed smack in the middle of it all.
dialogue is littered with a trail of bad puns, goofy Christmas jokes, some
adult references and apologies for gags that don’t work.
physical, comic business is the highlight, starting with the present wrapping
that leaves Matt trapped in sticky-tape with gifts stuck to his hands.
dress in giant, green, Chrissie tree costumes (Marg Horwell) covered with
velcro so that, when the enthusiastic kids hurl puffy Christmas baubles at
them, they stick hilariously to their jolly targets.
and Kelly are charming and engaging, chatting directly with the crowd, crawling
across seats to get comments and hauling volunteers of all ages on stage to
participate in songs and stories.
wearing a shoddy, grey wig to play Rich’s Nan, the pair presents Karaoke by
Candlelight, teaching everyone the Aussie Seven Days of Christmas with three
child volunteers burping in unison to punctuate the chorus.
of ‘A partridge in a pear tree’, we sing, ‘Two mozzies biting and a roast when
it’s 40 degrees’, then the lyrics just get sillier and accompanying gestures
delight of the kids, there are enormous water guns, even bigger snow making devices
and a bubble machine.
Listies delight in poo and fart jokes and they simply annihilate a fairy tale,
renaming it Jack and The Beans Talk, a story that features a dad playing the
front half of a huge, green cow-dragon thingy.
Listies Ruin Xmas is rough and ready kids’ theatre that will tighten up as they
sort out the gags they like and elevate the chaos even further, but it’s sunny
entertainment from two chirpy and clever performers.