Melbourne Fringe 2017: TRASH TEST DUMMIES

Fresh and funny school holiday entertainment

By Rebecca Waese

They sure make a mess but the Trash Test Dummies clean up with extraordinary acrobatic, goofball, bellyaching fun. As my daughter and I entered the Emerald City this Fringe Festival, the trio had already begun with gentle slapstick antics to clean up the rubbish and get imaginations rolling. It was a terrifically entertaining blend of physical comedy, clowning, and interactive fun for the whole family.

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Dummies Thomas McDonald, Isaac Salter and Leigh Rhodes – fit and farcical with endearing circus personalities – have more adventures than you could imagine with wheelie bins that turn into giant trucks, jack-in-the-boxes, chariots of fire, and teetering towers of gravity-defying human versus bin-balancing stunts. Soundtracks add to the hilarity when the trio carries us into the worlds of Batman, The Lion King, an awkward ballet from Swan Lake and a terrific Great Escape scene.

The Dummies got down and dirty with the audience, crawling over our seats, pelting us with soft balls, tissues, fake flowers and lots of clowning chaos, inviting kids to throw everything back at them and be a part of the action. The flavor of the show suited adults too with some references that were clever and topical.

The hat and pin-juggling scenes were top-notch and the Dummies, while near-perfect, were even fun when they missed the occasional toss and did push-ups for punishment. The slow-motion collisions and frenzied ‘pass the bomb’ bit kept us riveted.

While you’d best not hire these guys for a regular rubbish gig, you’d be lucky to catch them at the Fringe for an hilarious hour of interactive circus silliness and physical comedy. Selling out overseas at the Edinburgh Festival and winning best children’s show at Adelaide Fringe in 2015 and 2016, the Trash Test Dummies will leave you smiling. Kids were so enthralled by the Dummies, they cleaned up the stage for them and jockeyed for high fives after the show. Highly recommended, Trash Test Dummies is a great choice for school holiday Fringe festival fun.

Venue: Emerald City – The Gingerbread House

Dates: Sept 25-30, 2 pm

Tickets: https://www.melbournefringe.com.au/event/trash-test-dummies/

Rebecca Waese is an Honorary Associate at La Trobe University in the Department of Creative Arts and English

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