To celebrate their 40th birthday, Flying Fruit Fly Circus have brought their much-loved production JUNK back to the stage for its last Australian-wide tour. This one of a kind circus troupe of kids aged 8-19 are dedicated to creating vibrant and engaging circus performances to entertain all ages. Inspired by youthful imagination and risk-taking, JUNK shows off what these incredibly talented kids can do.
Set in an earlier time when kids were free to entertain themselves, this production used the stories from seniors at the Westmont Aged Care to build a story that challenges contemporary concerns of helicopter parenting and over-protection. A young boy (Angus Onley) swaddled in a helmet, gloves, goggles, elbow pads, and literal bubblewrap stumbles upon a rambunctious group of kids who encourage him to take risks and discover new boundaries for himself.
The set, designed by Joey Ruigrok, is a delightful assortment of junk, rubbish, bits and bobs littering a vacant lot of old where the kids use their imaginations to tell stories, create an entire farmyard out of puppets, and play with light through shadow-puppets and mirrors. Costumes from Lyn Shields equally renders the vintage aesthetic of this production with Orphan Annie-esque mismatched textures and patterns.
Of course, the stars of this production are the performers, a group of kids ranging from the littlest (Cate Kelly and Aysha Guilliamse-Witt) at 10 years old to the oldest (Mitch Kilsby and Alicia Maccarone) at 17. Their talents are exceptional in their fearless performances across a range of circus stunts and skills including tumbling (Fidel Lancaster-Cole), hula hooping (Gaby Lee), unicycling (Ewan Schell), and handstands (Abbey Szakal, Poppy McFarlane, Ellie Marks). Crowd favourites included the teeterboard which saw performers (Will Ledingham, Tom Leask, Campbell Clarke) launched into complicated twists and duo straps where Onley and Holly-Rose Boyer soared over the audience in elegant configurations. Other unusual sections integrated a trampoline to shoot performers up a wall in gravity-defying flips and jumps (Kayla Hulm) or the Chinese pole that required enormous strength for performers (Taj Murphy) to climb into the air and contort around the rubberised pole. All of the performers displayed jaw-dropping skill across a range of circus acts, especially Hulm, Maccarone, and Kilsby who were remarkably captivating in their control.
The message of JUNK is a clear one that generations have been handing down for centuries: kids can do amazing things if you give them the space to. Whether they’re being thrust into adulthood through social media and career-minded concerns or kept cocooned from the real world, there is a balance to be found where imagination can flourish. The attitude is quite literal here, too; Flying Fruit Fly Circus are absolutely amazing.
JUNK is touring around Australian from March 23rd – April 27th. For more information about their next performance, visit here.