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Seymour Mace Presents Funshine! – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Julia Chamberlain

The man next to me in the bar sought assurance from the Stand’s bartender/box office/go-to girl that he hadn’t accidentally purchased tickets for a kids’ show. She gamely told him that it was suitable for children and adults alike, and that all-adult audiences had enjoyed previous performances.

That’s all very well, but this is still a kid’s show, albeit a good one. Hand on heart I couldn’t say this is a must-see if you don’t have children with you, but it is very beguiling, crammed with incident, and must surely confirm stand-up Seymour Mace as a five-star babysitter in anyone’s books.

This works because it’s not cute and not twee – but not ironic nor patronising either. Mace doesn’t change his stentorian tones when addressing the motley crew of children and adults. There’s no breathy gushing here, he might as well be calling an inventory of car parts, and the no-nonsense delivery hits just the right note.

There’s more variety in this show in terms of ideas than a whole week of CBBC, and without any flash props or effects, just paper, address labels, a couple of hats and some teabags. He attunes to the attention span of a child quite perfectly, with a change of game every three or four minutes, and he ensue everybody gets involved to the their own level of comfort without feeling bullied. By renaming every member of the audience, he allows you to join in without feeling too self-conscious, as it’s not you, it’s Fiona Dingbat or whomever. You end up feeling cheerfully charmed but not manipulated, and that’s an important distinction.

An enjoyably daft distraction, especially if you’re in charge of a posse of seven-year-olds.

Review date: 20 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

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