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The List Operators
Published on Monday, 10 August 2009

For fans of those little quotes you get on flyers, The List Operators (two men and their flipchart) surely has the best, drawn from Melbourne comedy festival coverage on Australian website threethousand.com. With typical down-under bluntness, it says: "Go see it. Not shit. Guaranteed."

The quote, the high-concept act, and the style (that moustache!) were enough to get me in the door. The Operators, a Melbourne hit, start with a simple premise, making lists. Examples of their handiwork decorate Teviot's Sportsman bar as you wait for the show to open ('Which Potato for What', 'Things Alanis Is'), and the audience is requested to fill in a slip of paper with a list point on a theme - such as 'people you want to say sorry to and what you are saying sorry for' - for further list-making during the show.

Once inside, they burst into their first list and hardly let up from there. The act is a mix of pre-planned listing with fast-reaction ad-libbing, and the audience, it seemed to me, loved it. That maybe wasn't as apparent to Matt and Richard, the Operators themselves: they fretted a little too often that they were losing the crowd, but that wasn't my instinct.

They were at their best when just going for it full bore, and taking the audience with them without any worry. Their eccentric and eclectic act, much of it only peripherally list-related, suggests a fascinating and bizarre hinterland that I'd love to see more of in future. What's the provenance of the massive head? Where do the table tennis paddles fit in? Do they have Primark in Australia? Why the infatuation with Annie Lennox? Some of these answers are available at the Gilded Balloon this year - go there, find out, and make this show the hit it ought to be.

How else can I sum it up, other than with a list of my own? I offer this, titled 'Reasons you should see The List Operators':

1. It's really funny.

2. See 1.

Finally, for what it's worth, I am sorry for hitting Jacqui in the eye with an exhaust pipe. What can I say. I was seven. Sorry, Jacqui.

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