Bec and Tom's Awesome Laundry ★★★★★
As the audience files in to Bec and Tom’s Awesome Laundry, the two leads are on stage blowing bubbles and playing a game to see how far into the venue they can float the soapy spheres. Bec jokes that the whole show is just an hour of this. Yet she and Tom, her playmate and best friend, are so delightful, I think that would be a fantastic way to spend an hour.
The premise of the show is simple. Tom has brought Bec to the launderette, as it’s her turn to do the washing. Bec is almost pathologically adverse to washing machines and chores in general.
Bec and Tom present the perfect double act for children; Tom, the authoritarian know-it-all who dearly loves his chaotic best friend Bec, who’s all mischief and lack of impulse control. They perfectly play the dynamic of two child-like adults trying to get by in the world, all the while seeing the magic and fun in every situation.
This show is full of hilarious gags and games and there’s loads of delightful asides that work for both the kids and the grown ups. Bec and Tom were possibly having more fun than anyone in the room but the laughter, applause and squeals of delight from the children showed that we were also having a pretty awesome time. There’s plenty of well timed slapstick that manages to be cartoonish and playful without ever seeming violent or bullying and some excellent one-liners with Bec cheerily revealing embarrassing facts about Tom to the audience as he tries to maintain order.
Many children’s shows at the Fringe rely heavily on audience participation, often to the detriment of plot or substance, but every time Bec and Tom involve the enthusiastic children it’s crucial to the storyline and fits perfectly with the random anarchy of the characters. Some standout moments include Bec’s iPod stethoscope that reveals inner thoughts through song and several wonderful sequences with pop-up sketches created by Bec that both help the plot along, whilst managing to be hilarious and engaging. The show even manages to have a happy ending with a strong moral without being preachy or mawkish.
If you want a children’s show that’s more than the standard Generic Current Pop Culture Reference meets Whatever Kids Are Currently Into plus Lots of Bangs And Loud Music then you can’t go wrong with Bec and Tom’s Awesome Laundry; it’s a children’s show that knows how smart and imaginative children really are.