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Reviews/Circus/Fringe World Festival

Slapstick, music and fun for kids

25 January 2020

Rosalind Appleby and Seesaw’s junior reviewer agree Brass Monkeys is friendly, safe, fun entertainment for the kids.

Review: Circus Trick Tease, Brass Monkeys ·
The Big Top, Woodside Pleasure Garden, 24 January 2020 ·
Review by Rosalind Appleby ·

The two acrobats in purple hats and striped shirts are sad: they want to run away from the circus and join a marching band.

With a handy guide book and the audience’s help, they set out to learn how to march and play instruments.

Brass Monkeys is the brand-new children’s show from Circus Trick Tease, whose previous show, Children are Stinky, won Best Children’s Show at the 2018 Perth Fringe.

Kyle Raftery and April Dawson are a tight team and their skilled, friendly slapstick quickly puts the audience at ease.

Their careful attention to the very small audience members who volunteered to join them on stage was particularly sweet.

The show ranges from educational (“You need to practise, you can’t expect to be good at something straight away”) to idiotic (the “Monkeys throw their poo” song).

And there are lots of tricks along the way: balancing, silks, juggling clubs and hula hoops.

The unicycle was a particular favourite with my young audience members.

None of the acrobatics blew me away, but the musical tricks were genuinely impressive: it’s not easy to play a plastic trombone, even less so while balancing someone on your back, and nearly impossible when the person on your back is moving the slide for you.

Rafferty and Dawson swapped trumpet and trombone mid-breath, did the finger-work for each other’s instruments and managed some enthusiastic marching tunes along the way!

If you are looking for friendly, safe (though the soundtrack volume was pushing the OH&S standards for young ears) fun for littlies under eight, this would be a good choice.


Junior review by Pippa Turnbull, aged 11.

What a fast-paced, action-packed performance presented by Circus Trick Tease in the show, Brass Monkeys!

The two performers kept the audience of both children and adults entertained and amused.

Their characters, Kyle and April, had grown up in the circus but both of them were longing to run away and join a marching band.

The rest of the story follows their endeavour to learn the new skills needed to follow this dream.

Their plan included finding some instruments, practising, being creative, and finding their rhythm along with developing their mojo!

While they focused on developing the above, the audience were entertained with a hula hoop extravaganza, clever acrobatic stunts, lively baton twirling, a surprising approach to playing instruments, and much, much more.

The audience had opportunities to participate throughout the show, with children being invited on to the stage while at other times the audience could clap along.

I would suggest that this show would be most enjoyed by three to nine-year olds.

The key message provided to the audience was “Listen and move to the beat of your own drum”.

Brass Monkeys continues until 9 February 2020.

Pictured at top: April Dawson and Kyle Raftery manage all sorts of tricks and acrobatics in their kids’ show, Brass Monkeys.

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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