The Listies Make You LOL

1 October, Spiegeltent
Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival 2017

Look, I’m not the biggest fan of scatological humour, yet as the mother of three sons aged between ten and three it plays more of a role in my daily life than I had ever planned. Some seek out fart jokes, others have fart jokes thrust upon them.

I am not the target market for the Listies. They unapologetically stride on stage in the guise of two disparate but distinct studies of childhood: the whacky attention seeker and the slightly anxious smart kid. Matt, the silly one, plays to the archetype of the inner child – impulsive and desire led, while Rich – the smart one (you can tell because of the glasses) – acts the role of inner parent, superego to Matt’s id. You might think that applying Freudian theory onto a show that, within the first five minutes, coins the terms ‘face poos’ and ‘baccident’ (yes, that is an accident from the back end, complete with accompanying gesture and sound) is to elevate the authorial intent, until you learn that Rich, in fact studied philosophy, and Matt marketing. Behind the façade of zany childlike laughs is a congruent theory and a real understanding of the mind of the child.

For an hour in the Spiegeltent, up is down, left is right and children are placed firmly in the driver’s seat. The Listies draw them in with dramatic vocal and physical participation to co- create a vision of what life would be like if a six-year-old made the rules. The boundaries of good taste are crumpled up and tossed out the window of the moving vehicle that is this high octane fully interactive show. They revel in pushing parents outside their comfort zone and gently rib them into loosening up and going with the flow into which their children have willingly immersed themselves.

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