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Fantastic, Funny and Free

Entertaining the under-sevens is not easy. First you have to convince them that what’s onstage is more worthy of their attention than the baby in the row behind or the bit of fluff on daddy’s shirt. And then you have to hang on to attention spans that can be measured in seconds.

This mid-afternoon free show puts three comedians used to entertaining adults in front of family audiences, and serves as an object lesson in the difference. 

Actually, although three comics are named in the listings, only Martin Mor and John Scott appeared at this performance. Mor at least makes sporadic attempts to connect with the children, joking with some individually and encouraging panto-style feedback, and his brief forays into juggling and magic give the kids something to look at. But most of his jokes bypass the children and entirely appeal to the adults. 

John Scott makes almost no concession at all to the presence of the little ones. His comic poetry and ghost stories are totally static and built on humour of little appeal to the children – even bringing some parents onstage to attempt Dalek voices goes flat. 

Perhaps a small gesture toward visual appeal, in the form of a set or costumes in place of their street clothes, might be an acknowledgement by the comics that this audience is different from their usual one.

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Comics show too little awareness of the special requirements of playing to children