The Man Who Knows Everything is Kiki's first children's show in a number of years, performed with Anna Lou Larkin - a long time collaborator of Kiki's, which makes for an excellent onstage energy. Created for ages 4+, this show has something for everyone. Look out for the 2018 tour.
What would you ask someone who knew absolutely everything in the whole wide world? What would a dinosaur watch on TV? Why isn’t cat food mouse flavoured? Who invented alphabet spaghetti? What’s the smelliest food? What will I be when I grow up? Join Ophelia as she meets The Man Who Knows Everything, who shares some of the best stories in the world including Aesop’s fables, Brothers Grimm and many more. Performed by two comic performers with decades of experience in music, puppetry, comedy and illusions, this is an unforgettable hour to stimulate everyone’s imagination.
… a beautifully well-executed comedy show. A simple and silly two-hander, it features mime artist and clown Jack Stark (aka Kiki Lovchild) as the title character, a man who tells us he does indeed know everything. Stark’s role here is fully speaking and very physical, playing alongside Anna Larkin in an equal – and equally demanding – part as his foil. The pair work well together, building a rapport with spark, very visual action (the closing magic trick is spectacular) and a bunch of fun props and audience interactions when The Man decides to tell us one of his many parable-like short stories.
Almost every line brings a chuckle, giggle or squeal of hilarity from the young audience – and many adults too – as Kiki [mime artist Jack Stark] and Anna Larkin romp through zanily comic dialogue and clown-style storytelling from Aesop, Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, with Emperor’s Clothes the most engaging. They also puzzle over the world’s biggest and smallest birds, checking Kiki’s claim as The Man Who Knows Everything. Smelly socks, hats, plastic bones, giant clothes pegs and a dead crow are but few items from a voluminous props box given wondrous effect as the intrepid pair pursue their quest for the magical bird with the golden feather.
Deploying simple elements of physical theatre from tumbling to frantic searching among the audience, comical gestures, jumbled language and funny accents, this breathless laugh-making duo transform a tiny performance area into a magical imaginary realm of queens, emperors, knights – and sock guards with plastic eyes! Skilfully improvising around rehearsed key lines, plot themes and focal props, multi-talented Anna Larkin and Jack Stark create a fast-paced and constantly funny children’s show.
Both performers ensure that this is a children’s show bursting with wit, energy and a gentle self-mockery of the production’s somewhat limited special effects budget, and the occasionally necessary overacting. Larkin and Stark are a perfectly matched team, ensuring that there’s no chance of boredom setting in. Almost every line of dialogue inspires a laugh of some kind; those that don’t are usually covered with some kind of physical comedy.
Much of the story is a succession of retellings of several classic folk stories, from Aesop to the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen; each retelling is filled with “business” utilising their limited range of props and costumes to the best of their ability. Arguably the show’s biggest production number – after Ophelia’s initial quest is over – is a dramatisation of The Emperor’s New Clothes, although this isn’t to overlook the success of the regular side-steps into some of the fascinating facts known by The Man Who Knows Everything – with the disgusting subjects of bogies and rhino poo invariably getting the children’s vote.This show is so smoothly performed at what appears like break-neck speed that it’s surely choreographed to within an inch of its life – no mean feat given the small size of the room. But there’s a freshness, an honest exuberance which is undeniable; Larkin and Stark are brilliant at turning what is essentially a nondescript function room into a magical playground filled with regal queens, foolish emperors and castle guards played by boggle-eyed sock puppets. It’s a genuine disappointment when the show comes to an end.