Frying Flute Flies

Last night Pamela, Robert and I went to see the Flying Fruit Fly circus at the Parramatta Riverside Theater. Try saying Flying Fruit Flies three times quickly.

If you have never heard of them, they are a circus where all the performers are kids between 10 and 17. The FFF has a circus skills school and this is where they get to show off their skills.

They aren’t too bad at all. Occasionally you get a glitch where someone doesn’t quite manage the somersault through the two skipping ropes but they usually make it on the second try. This is fair enough for a mixed bunch of kids with different levels of skill.

Some of them are really good. My personal favourite was the guy upside down on a 30ft vertical pole who suddenly slides down the pole stopping himself by gripping with his legs just before his head hits the matting. His head wasn’t noticeably flat but he must have clobbered himself in practice once or twice.

So it was good but I have a serious complaint with regard to the way it connected with its audience, quite a lot of whom were young children. They wrapped a story around their skills (a perfectly legitimate and venerable device) but their choice of story was unsuited to their audience.

Basically it consisted of a young boy in the Outback. The first scene is his birthday party which is an excuse for some fun tumbling. However, then it all goes wrong, his father is killed in a bushfire and he ends up in the city – apparently with no-one to meet him off the train.

It takes off into fantasy at this point where he becomes a boy elephant trainer (whose father dies – this time of sickness) in a travelling circus. The circus is sold and he is the only one not taken on by the new owner. The circus people sneak him aboard the ship they are taking but the ship gets wrecked in a storm.

This was the first half. I’m not sure what happened in the second half because Robert couldn’t take it any more. He liked the circus bits but all this stuff about death of fathers and abandonment was more than he could handle and fair enough too. It wasn’t what any of us went to see.

I suspect the kids had a lot to do with writing the story. These are the sorts of concerns that interest adolescents and make good stories but they are not suitable for seven year-old kids – or at least not the subset of them to which Robert belongs.

It was a great pity. With a more cheerful story, Robert would have had a great time and gone home inspired to join a circus. Instead, we missed half the show and he had nightmares. I think I might have to write them a little note for next time.

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 1st, 2009 at 10:32 am and is filed under And furthermore..., Family. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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