The Flying Fruit Fly Circus is exhilarating, inspirational and fun.

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus performs JUNK at Sydney Opera House.

Australia’s National Youth Circus, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus is now touted as one of the leading youth circuses in the world and when you see the company’s new show JUNK at the Opera House you can see why.

The show follows a  boy as he steps into a new world. The world of a junkyard inhabited by the ghosts of children from the 1940s. When he enters this realm he has protective clothing, goggles, helmets, protective knee pads and  is initially very nervous of taking any physical risks. The ghosts of children from the past introduce him to their games, gradually taking his protective gear away from him and encouraging him to to take more risks, to trust others, and also to have trust in himself.

JUNK is based on an intergenerational project. The young people at the Flying Fruit Fly Circus interviewed their elders at the local nursing home about the games they played as children. The voices of these elders are used as sound sources, along with the rhythmic chants and verses from skipping games, and hopscotch.

Sound Designer Bec Matthews has drawn on this mix  and included music and songs from the 1940s, interspersed with live interludes from the performers themselves playing instruments including a washboard, percussion and stringed instruments along with a junked piano.

Puppetry Director, Sarah Kreigler, has developed witty and highly effective puppetry with surreal creatures made out of junk that are puppeted throughout the space by the performers. She  has created a specially engaging character, a little suitcase with legs which runs through the space investigating the new intruder. Junk is also used as a resource for creating circus equipment with  a huge rubber tyre used to balance on, while one of the smallest performers climbs inside it and revolves around the space bracing herself inside it like a performer doing German Wheel.

There are some very high level skills: the rope act demonstrates great strength, remarkable timing in all the realeases and catches, and incredible athleticism. The trampo wall is hugely dynamic and it is good to see male and female performers involved as it is very often restricted to being a purely male act. The Korean plank act shows some high level acrobatic skills and drew gasps and shrieks from the young crowd as the performers tumbled and turned in mid air. The straps duo is lyrical and elegant with some beautiful lines and real strength shown by both performers.

The group sections are dynamic, high-energy fun with inventive and surprising choreography. The dedication and the self-discipline of each and every performer  is impressive, and the level of achievement inspiring.

The artistic and training team led by Artistic Director Jodie Farrugia and Master Trainer Loic Marques are a remarkable partnership. Together with their team and all the young performers involved, they have created an inspirational world class youth circus.

Australia needs to celebrate this National Youth Circus and get behind the energy, passion and dedication of all the people involved.

Do not miss this show – it is perfect school holiday fare. All the children in the audience were laughing, screaming, calling out in response, all enthralled and totally involved in the show.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

JUNK: Flying Fruit Fly Circus

Creative Team
Artistic Director: Jodie Farrugia
Executive Director/Producer: Richard Hull
Master Trainer :  Loic Marques
Sound Designer: Bec Matthews
Lighting Designer: Tom Willis
Set Designer: Joey Ruigrok
Costume Designer: Lyn Shields
Rigging Design: Simon Yates
Dramaturge and Puppet Direction: Sarah Kriegler
Creative Circus Associates/Trainers: Ben Lewis and Shane Witt
Sydney Opera House
5-16 July
10 July 11am-12.00pm ‘Relaxed’ performance to welcome children on the autism spectrum


Katie Lavers

Friday 7 July, 2017

About the author

Dr. Katie Lavers is a writer, director, producer and researcher based in Sydney.