Huggers – The Family Friendly Comedy Show
Nik Coppin, Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Paddy McCulloch, Mike “Dr Blue” McKeon, Craig Ricci Shaynak @ Austral Hotel – The Bunka
3:15pm, Mon 12 Mar 2012
Ever since my first Shaggers show, I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for Nik Coppin’s ensemble productions… but, with its kiddie focus (and, more significantly, its resultant lack of sexually-derived content), I was curious to see how a child-specific implementation of the Shaggers formula would pan out.
The answer – on this bright Monday afternoon, at least – was that it pans out pretty bloody well.
Coppin, as per usual, emceed the show, and had the job of warming up a packed room of parents and kids (who were in the age range of three to thirteen). Nik’s a lovely, affable bloke, and the adults are quickly on-side; the kids take a bit more work, though, but nothing a little bribery can’t fix, as he flings packets of lollies into the audience (and promises more such prizes to come).
The first of Coppin’s guests were the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre – and, as previously noted, he/they are silly good fun. I’m not sure a lot of the kids could actually follow the high-pitched Scottish accent, but the older crowd were definitely having a great laugh… and the ridiculous puppetry proved to be a suitable distraction for younger eyes.
Mike “Dr Blue” McKeon – a surprisingly soft-spoken guitarist – engaged the younger patrons with lots of audience interaction, some great songs, and a little music lesson thrown in for free. Then Craig Ricci Shaynak (from I Am Google) explained how to write the perfect movie trailer; this material was aimed at the older kids in the crowd, but his constant repetition of the opening line of his trailer – a dramatically deep “in a world….” – certainly caused a fair bit of mirth… except for a few of the younger ones down the front, who were terrified (which, in itself, provided much amusement to the other adults present).
Finally came Paddy McCulloch and his magic tricks. And, I must admit, I originally though he was going to be lame… but he really brought the magic to the party with a ridiculously fast-paced routine that covered rope tricks, scary(!) balloon swallowing, and a fantastic cups and balls routine that escalated to potatoes and coconuts. It was a seriously impressive spot, and certainly inspired me to see more of McCulloch’s sleight-of-handiwork in the future.
I can’t imagine any man, woman, or child would’ve left The Bunka dissatisfied with that lot. A great bunch of laughs, some edumacation, some tunes, and some blistering magic… what’s not to love?