Funz and Gamez at the SoHo Theatre
How do I describe Funz and Gamez?
If you’re like me, the idea of children’s comedy is perhaps not high on your list — I get enough knock-knock jokes and potty humour from my 7- and 9-year-olds at home, thank you. So I have to say that I went to see Funz and Gamez at the Soho Theatre with a bit of trepidation, even though it promised to be fun(ny) for both me and the kids. A difficult feat to pull off, I thought.
But Funz and Gamez manages what seems to be the impossible; tear-inducing, laugh-out-loud moments for the parents that were somehow at the same time fun — and funny — on a whole different level for the kids.
Funz and Gamez is wildly inappropriate, entirely irreverent, and like nothing you’ve ever seen before — but a complete blast for kids and parents alike. It is a whole new breed of comedy.
But this is not for the little ones; best for kids age 6+, the show features comedian extraordinaire Phil Ellis, along with his friends Bonzo the Dog (a dryly sarcastic out-of-work actor in a dalmation suit, minus the head, which he lost at a stag party the night before) and Jim the Elf, who provides witty banter and backup vocals. Children are seated (minus their adults) in the first three rows for maximum interactive possibilities — this includes having sweets thrown in their general direction to keep them quiet, arm wrestling on stage with Phil, or bringing their parents on stage for a “fluffy bunnies” contest.
Ellis manages to scratch the surface of all that’s funny — and not — about being around kids, and all the parents were in complete hysterics throughout. His amazing ability to improv means that no two shows are alike, as the kids help steer the show, and provide more than enough material for Ellis to respond to. The children, for their part, loved the completely unexpected silliness and the chance to take part — the finale involves every child on stage for the sort of mayhem that would never be allowed at home.
Parents: arrive early, grab a hot chocolate for your kids and a drink for you in the comfy SoHo Theatre bar, and then grab yourself another plastic-cup version to take into the show — sitting by yourselves, a few rows up from the kids, you’ll feel like you’re on a date at a comedy club, with a brilliant comedian who really gets how crazy your life can be with kids. And for a few moments, you can laugh till you cry, and look at each other and think: “Whose out-of-control kids are those down there on stage?” — till they stumble up the stairs to you at the end, sugared up, jazzed up, and asking (as my 9-year-old did) to come back again the next day.