If you’ve never seen the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in action, you don’t know what you’re missing! A beyond talented troupe of youngsters, ranging in age from 10-18, skilled in aerial performance, acrobatics, dance and so much more, it was with great excitement that my young brood and I took our seats in the audience at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, to witness the final tour of their award-winning show, JUNK.
Taking us back to a time when mobile phones were a thing of science fiction and entertainment came from the everyday as opposed to a screen; JUNK is a sparkling, thrilling ode to generations past. Our protagonist is centre stage, donning every imaginable piece of contemporary safety gear possible in accordance with his likely helicopter-parented upbringing. The last item is a mobile phone, which he immediately becomes absorbed in… until, he is distracted by the sound of children laughing and playing.
Thus we are invited into the world of JUNK, an old fashioned junkyard littered with tools designed to spark kids’ imaginations, and celebrate a freedom from inhibition and adult supervision. We watch as the young performers incorporate jaw-dropping circus tricks with a narrative entrenched in the magic of honest to goodness play. Riding on tricycles, turning pots and pans into musical instruments and shooting each other up in the air for an array of ridiculously impressive twists and leaps; surely that sounds better than playing yourself at some one dimensional game on an iPad?
The show’s artistic director Jodie Farrugia asserts that she was inspired by this quote by Thomas Edison: To invent, all you need is a good imagination and a pile of junk. “The young people in the show are liberated by their imagination; objects of junk can be transformed into puppets, places, ideas, musical instruments and landscapes,” says Farrugia. “The circus skills are wonderful to work with, these young people train really hard as they understand the opportunity given to them in being part of the training program at The Flying Fruit Fly Circus. They are experiencing childhood from a very privileged and unusual perspective. JUNK is a combination of this privilege and creative liberation all rolled into one.”
To read the full interview with JUNK director Jodie Farrugia click here
My kids (7 and 4) were on the edge of their seats watching the story and action unfold on stage. Gasping at the powerful balance of the unicyclist, marvelling at the girl with the many hoops twirling about her middle, and mesmerised by the artistic shadow puppetry sequence, all the while willing the nervous protagonist to shed the last of his protective gear and just have fun.
JUNK triggers a wave of nostalgia for a time when kids played make believe, risks were there to be taken and parents were hardy enough not to wrap their kids up in cotton wool. Inspired by childhood stories told by elderly residents of regional Australia, JUNK gifts you the ability to time travel for one magical hour, transporting you to a normal neighbourhood street filled with nothing but the possibility of adventure.
Phenomenal, talent, energy, skill, character, wow… just some of the words that filled my head during this captivating performance and are still sticking with me days after. I drove with my three kids over an hour and a half to see this show and I’ll tell you what, it was more than worth it. A rapturous celebration to mark their 40th birthday, I will attest this is probably the best circus production I have ever seen.
JUNK has one final (sold out) date left on its 2019 tour and that will happen on 27 April at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.
What you need to know:
What: JUNK - Flying Fruit Fly Circus
Who: For kids aged 6+
Duration: 55 minutes (no interval)