6D World Tour of Australia by The Listies. Who are wee? Matthew Kelly and Richard Higgins.
Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, The Q Theatre, Thursday, January 12, 2017 – Saturday, January 14, 2017
Reviewed by Frank McKone [Sorry about the mess on this page, but this is sort of how the theatre looked by the end of the show]
“Stop Laughing – this is serious” is my trope today. In my dinosaur days I would have said ‘theme’. I bet ‘trope’ is not listed in The Listies’ recent Penguin publication: Ickypedia: A Dictionary of Disgusting New Words. But it should be because, as my 1981 Macquarie Dictionary explains, ‘trope’ is no more than a smart-aleck rhetorical twist or ‘turn’ (Gk trópos), “a phrase, sentence, or verse formerly interpolated in a liturgical text [merely] to amplify or embellish”.
I think since 1981 ‘trope’ has splashed itself across the language like snot. Here’s Rich
demonstrating spraying snot
It was impossible to stop laughing, but whatever happened to my serious theme?
Even in this photo, captioned The Least silly picture Rich and Matt have ever been in, snapped by Max Milne they don’t look very serious.
But their work as creators and performers is in fact highly skilled as theatre and highly educational about language – reading and writing. If you would like to check through my 20 years of reviews of children’s theatre (at www.frankmckone2.blogspot.com) you’ll see that I have been crucially concerned about three kinds of shows. There’s a sort of continuum from the worst end – shows at the children – through reasonable shows which are a bit condescending for the children, to the best educational learning about ideas – including about the nature of theatre itself – in shows which are with the children.
Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly are right at the best end. They teach about reading, writing, spelling and story-telling consummately, they link everything they say and do to the experiences of their – modern – audience (including transference between the physical world and the world of the internet), and they open up the process of acting (better than Brecht :-) so that the children absorb the difference between reality and fiction.
So now you can stop laughing: this is really serious, and a great achievement by The Listies in 6D which is Twice as Good as 3D.