I’m a sucker for twisted re-imagining of kids TV.
Whether it’s the boundary demolishing 'Wonder Showzen', the pseudo-education of 'Look Around You' or the more recent surreal web-series 'Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared', it’s a quick and easy way to reframe edgy material in extreme yet effective ways.
So when I heard one of the shows at this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival was titled 'Not 4 Kidz', run by the illustrious ImproMafia, I was sold.
Before I even entered the venue (Brisbane Powerhouse 12 March) I was accosted and before I knew it I was sculpting models from play dough and drawing a Hulk Hogan-themed monster and labelling it with my name and age as though I was a child again.
The show itself is a re-imagining of a Saturday morning children’s TV show including hand-controlled puppets, a cast dressed as though their wardrobe exploded and copyright-compliant reinterpretations of other shows spliced in the middle of it all.
It’s then dependent on audience call outs for the composite themes within the sketches involved to give it a slightly different feel each time. Those who shout are rewarded with sweat thrown their way for their efforts.
As you’d expect with improvisation, some of it doesn’t quite work, but some bits result in hilarity a scripted affair could only dream of. The teenage-angst-riddled show that definitely wasn’t a take on 'Heartbreak High' was a particular highlight. The characters channelled the overblown drama with particular panache, ensuring the “Rack off” count comfortably tallied in the double figures.
Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable show, dealing with issues such as addiction to murder, hallucinogenics and even incest with a gloss of innocence painted over the whole thing.
If you’re a grown-up and this sounds like your sort of thing then firstly question your life choices, then do yourself a favour and get down to the Powerhouse for one of their remaining shows as soon as possible.
Not 4 Kidz plays at the Brisbane Powerhouse 17, 19 March.