Gobsmacked! playing it for laughs


Lajos "Louis" Hamers and Bertie McMahon find kids are their harshest critics. Picture: JULIE HICKS

Lajos "Louis" Hamers and Bertie McMahon find kids are their harshest critics. Picture: JULIE HICKS

Today – Friday, 11am and 1pm

Phoenix Theatre

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Performing for children is great fun, says Lajos "Louis" Hamers, but they do keep you on your toes.

"Kids are the harshest critics - even worse than your other theatre friends," he says.

"If you're boring you've lost them and they are never ashamed about walking out or picking their nose or not paying attention to the show.

"In that way they are a great audience to perform to because they really help you hone your stuff very finely."

Hamers and Bertie McMahon, who together make up the theatrical duo Gobsmacked!, are presenting their children's play The Sun, the Moon and the Stars at Coniston's Phoenix Theatre.

Having shared the stage for almost 15 years - as well as performing together in a number of folk bands (including currently Mr Cuttlefish) - the pair have a very finely honed act.

The Sun, the Moon and the Stars combines their love of theatre, music and comedy, and usually involves an element of improvisation as well.

"It gives us the opportunity to try and crack each other up quite a bit," Hamers says.

"We've got a script that is the foundation of the show but there are always a few little jokes and improvisations along the way.

"That's kind of how we rehearse and write the thing, too.

"Part of what we do, we just sort of bat it back and forth and try and make each other laugh. When we hit on something, that's usually what ends up in the final performance."

The play is based on a Hungarian gypsy folktale.

"It's about two gypsy boys who have been sent to rescue the sun, the moon and the stars which have been stolen by an evil troll and hidden in the belly of a pig," Hamers says.

"The way we have written it is that we are two young council workers who have been sent off on this quest. So there are a few jokes about the council giving us the wrong tools to do the job and all that sort of thing.

"The original story is a traditional epic and makes The Lord of the Rings look like a novella.

"We've whittled it down to three main quests - we have to do battle with a dragon, a hag and the troll who stole the sun, the moon and the stars. And of course we win!"

The play is aimed at later primary school-aged children, but should appeal to their parents as well.

"We find the adults have as much fun as the kids, especially with this show because there are a fair few adult allusions in there that the kids might miss," Hamers says.


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