‘Twas “Christmas Eve” in the theatre, and the Listies have you saved, As their new kids holiday show is one that you will rave… about.

While my rhymes are nowhere near as good as The Listies, they don’t need to be, as Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly have got it covered. From contemporary Australia versions of The Night Before Christmas and The Seven (previously 12) Days of Christmas, this show is filled with creative, crass and witty gags for all ages. There are jokes about Uber, Aldi, Savers, Adventure Time and surrealism for the adults, and the focus on funny faces, poo, bum and burp jokes, and mentions of Star Wars and Frozen for the kids. Don your cheery Christmas cracker hats, or be made to don one at the door, and prepare yourself for an hour chock full of laughs.

It’s good to know that the top 10 things Melbournians like to eat during festival time includes bananas, junk and arms- crown participation in this show is a must and the kids big and small throw out their silliest suggestions throughout the show. From assisting with an alien attack to decorating the tree, character development and a burp orchestra, the audience are drawn directly into the show to assist it’s development and story line, requiring great improvisation and preparedness by Higgins and Kelly, and the imagination of children.

The show is a delight, and performances by Higgins and Kelly are dedicated and fluid as they engage with the audience. Their self depreciating humour about “these jokes that aren’t staying in the show” and about their previous shows and previews is fresh, honest and appreciated by the crowd. Combined with musical performers and high energy and enthusiasm, this is one beyond funny evening at The Malthouse. The Listies have a history with this style, from their previous shows based on Andy Griffith novels, to their pop up book Ickypedia, filled with new disgusting words, they started making shows for kids in 2009 and haven’t looked back. And they shouldn’t, because they are the funny, creative kind of entertainment kids need to let loose a little, develop their imagination, and to gain new material to terrorise their parents with.

The set and costumes are what really make the show. The set starts stark and well set and becomes a chaotic mess of scene and costume changes, as well as thrown props and balls thrown by the audience. Complete with Velcro covered zombie body parts, Velcro covered Christmas tree suits that rotate, a costume change into Nana the karaoke carol singer and some snow blowers, the stage is a wild jungle Higgins and Kelly wade through with comic precision. The stage was well managed despite the mess of props, but the kids loved any fumbles in props or missed queues or actions by the cast, as slap stick physical comedy.

Lighting across the stage incorporates the clever use of Christmas lights, as well as great variety between warm and cool lighting as “Christmas Eve” got later and later. A highlight of the show is the Jack and the Beans Talk pantomime that takes the traditional story to new heights and some fart related new lows. It’s also a delight to hear and see all of the younger audience members understanding all of the religious jokes and connotations in the song “Everyone in the world loves Christmas”- a sign of our wonderfully accepting culture and some great education.

All of your favourite stars have come out for this show- Lee Lin Chin, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber all make an appearance. Kids will laugh at just about anything, and big kids and small can have plenty of fun at The Malthouse with The Listies Ruin Christmas until 13th December before it heads to Sydney.

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