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The Listies in 6D

The Listies in 6D

The Listies in 6D

With the Easter holidays happening at the end of the week (uh-oh, you’d forgotten, hadn’t you?), we thought it was a good time to chat with children’s entertainers, The Listies, Richard Higgins and Matt Kelly. Don’t miss their show at Brisbane Powerhouse from next Wednesday April 3rd – Saturday April 6th!


The Herald Sun critic ‘reckons you guys are “The Lano and Woodley of the under 12 set”; high praise indeed! How did you get to this cool, fun place making award-winning theatre for children?


The short answer:

Whenever someone told us to stop being silly, we didn’t listen.

And the longer one:

….A brief history:

We met about ten years ago doing shows with a fantastic director called Lynne Ellis, who has been running annual children’s shows in Melbourne for 20 years, adapting Andy Griffiths and Roald Dahl books for stage. And she taught us our craft, how to keep an audience involved, how to keep changing the game, how to love it. We owe her a lot. For example we borrowed a pair of poo stained undies from her props department and we still haven’t given them back.

And Matt and I love performing and making people laugh and we’ve just kept making shows that we thought were funny and were the opposite of boring. We were also lucky to meet our amazing manager Vanessa Rouse very early on; it is great when you have someone who completely believes in what you do. She knows more about kids theatre in Australia than anyone. Also she often tells us to put more farts in. Also she came up with our recipe for fake vomit.

You guys specialise in “Kidult” (for kids and adults) entertainment? How is that even possible? What’s your strike rate at each show? Are the laughs usually well balanced between kids and adults?


We think of our shows a bit like a vaudeville variety show (for any kids reading this, they were live shows in the dinosaur times that ran a bit like a YouTube hole on stage) so every ‘bit’ is aimed in a different way. A silent bit, a story, straight gags, audience interaction, props bits, a musical bit…. And I think that allows you to cover a lot of bases. Also don’t forget Kidult stuff is not new! It has always been everywhere – Pixar, Star Wars, Woodley, Mr Bean, Charlie Chaplin, British pantos, wrestling, farts.


And on that, why are fart jokes so popular with kids and adults? What’s your best fart joke?


I think the masterful US stand up comedian Louis CK nailed this one: “Let’s break down farts for a second. It comes out of your butt, it smells like poop, (because it’s air that’s been hanging out with poop for a while)… And when it comes out it makes a trumpet noise. What’s not funny about that?”


I like to think that fart jokes are older than humanity itself, like deep in the midst of time two dinosaurs were sitting around a carcass one day, gnawing on some poor unfortunate’s cartilage, when one leaned over and invented the oldest and best fart joke, ‘Pull my claw’. And they were on a high protein diet. That would’ve been stinky.


Does your producer, Vanessa Rouse, have a favourite fart joke that you have to throw into each show (or anything that she would prefer you exclude?). 

As we said earlier, Vanessa is the best! And she has never said don’t put that in. She trusts us. And our expertise about farts. And fart archeology (in evidence above).


You’ve travelled a bit; you’ve had successful runs at major Australian and international festivals. Do fart jokes work in other countries and cultures?


YES! Of course they do. Everyone does them – though the farts themselves have different accents eg. French – la poot Spanish – el pooto German – Das poot  New Zealand poot aye bro.


What are among the most embarrassing moments you’ve experienced in another country?


In the UK pants means undies. Do not forget this.


How do you come up with the content and structure for your shows? Is there a tried and true method?


It’s a trade secret, but there is a dartboard and a blindfold involved.


Where do you find inspiration?

We watch the cats on YouTube. Those little critters are FUN-KNEE.


Can you talk about the influence upon your developing style and eventual shows of Monty Python, The Two Ronnies, Samurai Pizza Cats and The Young Ones?


Although TV was big in our comedy young lives, and we continue to consume huge chunks of TV and internet comedy, most important to us is seeing live comedy/clowning/puppetry/circus/ theatre/dance…The lucky thing about our job is that we get to be at festivals where people from all over the country (and the world) are performing live in front of audiences. I would say that this, the live realm, is actually the most influential to what we do… because although we’d love to do more TV/YouTube stuff and we have great fun making our audio albums ( it is the experience of sitting in the dark with a group of open-mouthed strangers watching someone make magic infront us that remains the most influential to us.


What can aspiring comedians learn from your shows? What can they learn from your creative process?


I would say that seeing as much live stuff of as much variety as possible is one tip. And the other one is that your live stuff is never really finished. Keep working on it. It’s like a garden that always need tending…possibly with manure.


Also our shows are really messy… By the end of the show the stage is covered with vomit, dirty undies, deflated inflatable unicorns and aliens. It’s a real disaster zone. So also I guess young aspiring comedians could learn some of our best cleaning up techniques.


What are your fave 3D movies?


We make our own 6D movies, it’s twice as good as 3D. Come and join us at the show!


What was your fave childhood/teen read?


Matt: Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman. We are also big fans of Andy Griffiths and Roald Dahl.

Richard: I grew up in England, so started with The Just Williams Books, and yes, a bit of Enid Blyton. I loved comics like The Beano and the Dandy, Tintin and Asterix and also Judge Dredd. Then I got into Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Sue Townsend (a bit later)…. I also used to transcribe Fawlty Towers episodes in my spare time…


What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing it? What did your parents want you to be?


Richard: Taller!


Matt: Until the age of five I wanted to be a giraffe – so I guess the same as Rich.


Who do you think could do with seeing your show in Brisbane this time?


Our show is Rated S for Stupid. so it’s for stupid people, who like watching stupid people do stupid things. We can promise them that our show is 100% education free. It’s like the opposite of learning. You come out of the show knowing less that you did when you came in. Stupider. If that’s a word.


What do you love about Brisbane Powerhouse and the Brisbane live theatre scene?


Brisbane’s arts scene is brill. You have GOMA, QPAC, QTC and the Powerhouse…and the Powerhouse does some of the most amazing programming in Australia and every time we’ve performed there the audiences have been full and ready to have a great time. The Visy Theatre is a fantastic room in a fantastic venue in a fantastic spot in the city.




XS Entertainment

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele


Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele

Brisbane Cabaret Festival

Stockholm Syndrome 

2nd & 3rd November 2012


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


The Adele Effect


“I just wanna make music…” Adele


Naomi Price Adele

Look, I didn’t disclose it before but Naomi Price is a friend of mine. And I don’t mind telling you, without any bias at all, that she is one of a kind. The girl is gorgeous, creative, clever and funny; she possesses an incredible voice and a versatility that means we’ll see her forever, Meryl Streep or Madonna style, and she is humble and hard working. Also, she’s met Cate Blanchett and frequently wears fabulous shoes that I covet, so it goes without saying really, that I’m a big fan.


Naomi’s new show, Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele is exactly that. It’s sixty superb minutes of alternative pop star…

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“Ultimately, the function of arts criticism isn’t that far removed from the function of art itself,” Nguyen says. “Hopefully we’re going to contribute to a culture where it’s actually exciting to read criticism, where you actually feel like you possibly learnt something or you’ve been enlightened and you don’t just feel like you’ve been sold a product.”


Get Threaded

You may not be familiar with this term. I would like to say I coined it but I know, even before conferring with my good friend, Google, that that would be an outrageous lie. And, anyway, just look at what my good friend Google did find:

Indeed! A local business called…Get Threaded! You can take a look for yourself. N.B. This is NOT where I first experienced the ancient art of threading however, this IS where I’ll be going to from now on because Chermside’s Wink Bar is too pink for me and too far to visit every 4-6 weeks. I will say that it was pretty-pink-convenient to walk by, realise what was going on, walk on into without having made an appointment, and be treated with threading and a tint in just under 12 minutes, between the purchases of Wittner shoes and a Veronika Maine LBD. Look, a girl needs to put her feet up during such a spree and every seat was taken at Shingle Inn

Also because my extensive research showed 6 mutual friends on Facebook – that’s 6 degrees of separation, kids – between me and Get Threaded,  I thought, “It’s a siiiiiiiiiiiign…

In case you didn’t click on that link right there, here is the NBC story that helped spread the craze in the states. Incidentally, because I know there is NO craze without Oprah’s say-so, I looked for a clip from her show…and it seems there is an opportunity for somebody there…



Now when I look for my nearest practitioner, I find that these guys are suddenly EVERYWHERE



This is really important. It’s something your mother probably told you. If not your mother, your best friend or agent or photographer. I should mention that Kurt Sneddon has never offered any tips about brows to me personally but he is acknowledged, when it comes to headshots, as the best in the business and so it goes without saying that if you’re an actor requiring new headshots, which I am, you will do the courtesy of prepping your brows, which I am doing. Only then, will you be truly ready for your close-up, which I will have to be (because it’s booked now) for the 8th of December!

The eyes may be the windows to the soul but the brows frame them. Put simply, if you are in the public eye then you had better have great shaped brows.

Not to mention, it’s not really ever acceptable to sit down to Christmas dinner sporting the unkempt kind. Not even in Australia. Just saying. I mean, you have probably done enough this year already to offend the family.

Below are some examples of undesirable eyebrow shapes. Tragically, there are many more. In fact, there are LISTS of Best and Worst Celebrity Brows. Well, of course there are! In order that we mortals might know better. Try to avoid the following styles or any variations thereof.






Also, try to avoid pretty much everything you see next. It just won’t work…for you. Miranda Sings has a unique style and though many have tried, there is no one else in the world who can pull it off. Haters, back off. I happen to be a big fan.



As you can see, eyebrows are difficult to tame. And even more difficult to maintain. In fact, if you’ve ever seen me, or a picture of me, you would know that to be true. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it quite right. But I’ll tell you one thing…actually, I’ll tell you two things:

  1. Apparently, threading was conceived by some ingenious Indian women who did not want to use wax on their sensitive skin. It’s a valid point. After centuries, it’s becoming a growing global trend. It’s efficient, its painless, it’s novel and neat. You should try it.
  2. If you do not heed this advice and instead, insist on plucking and ruining your brows (or worse, entrusting them to one who has not yet achieved – and, I dare say, never will – the illustrious title of Eyebrow Designer or Eyebrow Architect), you’d better have a bloody good hairdresser. The fringe will always be in for those with undesirable brows.

To read more about threading, keep an eye (brow) on Nikki Parkinson’s blog Styling You. She tells me she is getting threaded on Friday…


View Redressed


XS Entertainment/Whitehouse Celebrations/il secondo

Review by Nathanael Cooper

Sunshine Coast Daily September 11th 2010

I am definitely not someone you would call a prude. But there is one thing I can’t stand. Gratuitous nudity. And when I was invited to see Erotique in Maroochydore this week, I fully prepared myself to give the director a piece of my mind about onstage nudity. I had a script prepared and everything.

Here I publicly swallow my unspoken words. I went into the venue with a completely closed mind, fully prepared to hate what I was about to see so Erotique had a long way to go to impress me. And it did.

I was profoundly affected by what I can only describe as a brilliant piece of art. When XS Entertainment launched La Ronde earlier this year I wasn’t able to make it along to a show. I am kicking myself now because I could have discovered this wonderful production earlier. Now, in a scaled back version of the original, Erotique takes the audience on a journey through the sexual experiences of the six cast members. A live theatrical piece that is an exploration of sex sounds hard to watch and confronting. And it is. But it is also intriguing, fascinating, moving, touching and even, at times, beautiful. The show deals with themes of homosexuality, rape and abuse but there is much more. Lust, yearning, need and probably most importantly, love.

There is nudity right there in front of you but it is never gratuitous. In fact one could say, without the nudity, the scenes wouldn’t work. It doesn’t feel like there is someone standing right in front of you without clothes on. It feels like a technique to draw the audience further into the story, further into the art that is Erotique.

The performances by the small cast of Xanthe Coward, Sharon Grimley, Kay Ellsum, Mary Eggleston, Stephen Moore and Ben Johnson need to be commended. Their bravery as they strip away their clothes, throw away their inhibitions and give of themselves wholly to the audience is part of what makes Erotique so good. At times you want to turn your head away because what you are seeing is so confronting but the performances are so compelling that you wouldn’t dare.

It’s not about being perverted, as you stare at someone’s naked body. Much like a Renaissance painting of a nude woman, Erotique is art. It is as much art as it is theatre.

The show won’t appeal to everyone. It has themes that not everyone wants or needs to see. But for those who have an open mind and enjoy being challenged by entertainment, then Erotique is for you.

The partnership created between the three organisations that have brought Erotique to the stage needs to be celebrated as much as the show itself. While the coast is blessed with many theatre groups, the ability to stroll along the river to the M1 Function Rooms, enjoy a meal and a glass of wine at il secondo then be taken through another world by Erotique is a true gift. If this show is successful, then il secondo’s Tony Kelly assures us there will be more to come. Theatre on a Friday and Saturday night, right in the heart of Maroochydore, is something that needs to be actively encouraged. Tickets for tonight’s performance are available by calling 5444 1736.


Erotique Update

  1. We have a sponsor! Thank you!
  2. Our first major sponsor wishes to remain anonymous.
  3. We would like at least one more major sponsor pleaseuniversethankyou.
  4. Or lots of little ones pleaseuniversethankyou.
  5. That is all.

P.S. This is undoubtedly the shortest piece I have ever posted. And that is because I merely wished to express our enormous gratitude to said sponsor and also, obviously, to put it out there that another one would save us staging sexy car washes for the next month. Just saying.


The La Ronde Experience

by Mary Eggleston

It’s been about 3 years since my husband and I moved to the Sunshine Coast from Germany and in all that time I’ve barely sorted out any involvement in local theatre. Admittedly there have been many other things on my plate and to be frank, I have been rather a snob when it comes to local productions. I’ve thought nothing of travelling to Brisbane to see a great number of shows over the last 3 years but have been to only 2 local productions (Blood Wedding at Noosa Arts and Shout! at the Caloundra Events Centre).

When I heard that Samthe (this is my version of Brangelina for Sam and Xanthe Coward) were doing la Ronde I knew it was time to get amongst it again. I loved what Sam was able to do with ‘Shout! The Legend of the Wild One’ in just 8 weeks (read Simon Denver’s review here) and I’ve always loved the La Ronde script. It’s not often that local – dare I say, amateur – theatre tackles a script like this one and I am very interested to see how the Sunshine Coast community responds to this racy little number.

Each scene has something very human to reveal and what is more human than sex? Although I am no stranger to getting nude (for art’s sake) the act is always revealing – pun intended.

First and foremost, as an actor I love the workshop-style process Sam has chosen for rehearsing. It is through trial and error that we can examine the many choices, ideas and approaches available to us as theatre practitioners.

Fear is the starting point of all creation. Art is not conceived from a place of security and safety. An element of fear is most important for an actor’s process and journey. The energy generated by fear is integral to the creative process, the development of genuine characters and compelling theatre.

I was so impressed by the talent that came out of the woodwork to audition for this show and I feel very lucky to have been cast. Sam’s version of la Ronde is going to result in a really interesting and innovative piece of theatre and one that I hope draws the serious theatre buffs and also those who are just pain curious to see what all the hype is all about.

“I believe that theatre’s function is to remind us of the big human issues, to remind us of our terror and our humanity.”

Anne Bogart

Stephen Moore and Mary Eggleston