Hoopla Clique Presents Chores

A must-see family show for kids and kids at heart

By Ciara Thorburn

The show opens with a simple premise, two goofy looking guys dressed in man-sized onesies, with a voiceover of their mother screaming down the hallway to clean their room. These two goofs quickly prove themselves as talented acrobats, jugglers, and charmingly adorable clowns. What we are about to witness is a tight, well-choreographed and thoroughly developed show with humour and slapstick comedy that appeals not only to the kids, but to mum and dad (and grandma) too.

The best part? The ingenious, reverse psychology involved at the roots of the whole show. At one point the brothers (Julian Roberts and Derek Llewellyn) have the kids screaming “it’s still messy” or “you missed a spot”. One thing I know is that kids love telling adults what to do, and these brothers obviously enjoy indulging in self-induced audience chaos, while remaining undoubtedly in control. The performers embody the true spirit of clowning, setting-up scenarios where they enable the kids to outsmart the adults. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a kids show that integrates conceptual clowning techniques so immaculately.

And just as with any good kids show, there is a message. It’s the essence of the whole production. The performers intelligently characterise their twin-brother relationship, covering themes like sharing, cooperation, adventure, wrestling, comradery and danger. In fact, they do it so well that at some points, their stupid and smart clown logic seems lost by the adults, only to make perfect sense to the kids. It goes to show that these idiots speak fluent ‘kid’, they know their audience, and they know exactly what they’re doing.

With a simple concept and both a clear narrative and objective, this show is full of surprises and is an absolute delight to watch. The whole show has impeccable timing, great visual imagery, high-skilled circus and acrobatics, and flawless execution. Chores, a must-see family show for kids (or kids at heart).

This is a review of Chores as performed at Woodford Folk Festival, January 2018.

Chores will be performed 18 April as part of Showcase Victoria at Darebin Arts Centre. Tickets can be purchased online.