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

This article is from 2013.

Little Howard's Big Show for Kids

credit: Steve Ullathorne

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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