Little Howard's Big Show for Kids (4 stars)

This article is from 2013.

Little Howard's Big Show for Kids

An enormously fun hour of technical wizardry and audience interaction

There’s an intriguing mix of the hi-tech and old-school about geeky comic Howard Read and his cheeky sidekick, Little Howard.

Since arriving on the comedy scene over a decade ago, Read has been known for his work with screens, laptops and animation, creating a niche for himself on the Fringe as a groundbreaking, tech-savvy children’s entertainer. And with Little Howard’s Big Show for Kids, the trademark bells and whistles are firmly in place, but Read is smart enough to realise that sometimes a good old-fashioned ‘it’s behind you’ moment or a silly fight scene is just what the audience demands.

Making an immediate connection with his crowd, Big Howard reveals his crippling fear of spiders, just as we meet a particularly leggy (animated) arachnid. But help is at hand with a bit of audience participation spider-squishing: the first of several intricate slices of technology during the hour.
There are moments just for grown-ups, and one of them is singled out to have his face used on screen. Once there, he plays a grumpy government inspector, probing accusations of the show being ‘clinically unfunny’. Should Big Howard fail to convince the bureaucrat of his comedic talents, a long spell in jail awaits the pair.

It’s all enormous fun, and there’s a stirring finale when Read’s animated pal finally achieves his ambition of performing the ‘Thriller’ video. But as this is Little Howard, he might have cracked the make-up and choreography, but can’t stop himself getting the words wrong.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, 08445 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 2.45pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10).

Little Howard's Big Show for Kids

Real human Big Howard and interactive animation Little Howard are putting on the show of their lives.

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