Watching comedian Martin Mor’s kids show sometimes feels like a case of be happy – or else. With his waistcoat and insane facial hair, well-deserving of its own billing, he’s the guy who makes snot jokes behind your parents’ back with a wink, or fixes you with a stare that burns holes in you while you laugh.
Performing as part of the Free Fringe, Mor establishes an easy rapport with most of the kids he brings on stage to take part. There’s a Roald Dahl-esque twinkly gruffness to his rough-and-tumble persona that chimes well with grubby, sticky fingers grasping for sweets. He keeps the energy levels up through audience interaction and a good mix of decent magic tricks and icky gags.
Mor also keeps the parents involved – siding with their kids and poking fun at them, while tipping the occasional wink in their direction when faced with a Violet Beauregarde-alike. However, his act never flies too far (or for too long) over the heads of the five or six-year-olds largely comprising his audience. He’s best when he’s treating giggling kids like co-conspirators.
Sometimes, though, the fun no-nonsense tips over into brusqueness. When I saw the show, there was a souring snap of sharpness from Mor at two parents talking to each other, which felt like an out-of-kilter response in a crowd of noisy children. But the moment quickly passed and the kids were laughing again in no time.