Edinburgh Fringe 2009
The List Operators
Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot.
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
The List Operators consist of Aussie duo Matt Kelly and Rich Higgins, who surprisingly, write lists – the clue is in the name. Their show, a brilliantly original concept, escalades from seemingly simple, innocent flip-chart lists into comedy mayhem. Sharply executed and in parts absolutely genius, these smooth operators defiantly deserve to be placed at the top of your “Things to see in Edinburgh” list.
The concept is fantastic. It is new, edgy and delightfully unique. Originality always has to be praised and these guys score very highly in this respect. Turning something mundane into a comedy show takes a certain kind of creative, comedy mind and demands talent, which both Kelly and Higgins have in abundance. The script is brutally blunt and yet light-hearted, is well constructed- each section flowing into the next with a bumbling, rolling ease – and is refreshing and innovative to listen to.
There is a wonderful onscreen chemistry between the two characters that contrast and, in typical double act style, have polar-opposite character representations. Simple and smiley Kelly has brilliant, sharp comic timing and is a master of physicality onstage. He is endlessly endearing and lights up the room with his somewhat demented grin. On the other hand, serious and straight-faced Higgins is constitutionally aggressive and gently controlling. The audience is lead in whilst the two are busying themselves with their lists on stage, a clever introduction which allows character development. Their improvisation is effortless and allows their razor sharp wit to shine through. They are both brilliant onstage, are professional and slick without seeming tired and overdone.
The staging and tech is simple, but is well thought out. The pair use a variety of props and retro sound snippets to compliment and enhance their somewhat geeky demeanour. Most of the sounds are controlled by Higgins onstage, which can make the running seem somewhat awkward, but only adds to the slap-dash nature of the entire show.
It is these kind of shows that make a reviewer wish for half star ratings. It is very nearly a 5, but in places it lags in pace somewhat and the two are evidently affected by a lack of audience response to gags and are thrown. However they are both brilliant as performers and burst at the seams with an enigmatic energy. They are first class scriptwriters and they are the best comedy I’ve seen at the fringe so far. It’s fantastic, wholeheartedly recommendable. Go and see it now.