Trash trio to make a splash

Award-win­ning kids’ en­ter­tain­ers are div­ing into a world pre­miere at the Fringe, writes

The Advertiser - - ARTS -

THE crash-prone troupe be­hind Ade­laide and Ed­in­burgh Fringe hit Trash Test Dum­mies is aim­ing to make an even big­ger splash this year when it re­turns with a brand new, aquat­ic­themed pro­duc­tion.

Cir­cus co­me­di­ans Jamie Bret­man, Si­mon Wright and Jack Cole­man – who won the awards for best chil­dren’s pre­sen­ta­tion at the Ade­laide Fringe in 2015 and 2016 – are trad­ing in their trade­mark wheelie bin for swim­suits, flip­pers and pool noo­dles in Splash Test Dum­mies.

Bret­man says an off­hand joke about a swim­ming pool sparked the idea for the trio’s show, which takes all the skills, stunts and com­edy from Trash Test Dum­mies and turns them into some­thing big­ger, bet­ter – and wet­ter.

“We’re step­ping up the whole pro­duc­tion. We’ve en­listed a sound de­signer, light­ing de­signer and work­ing with stronger di­rec­tion. Pre­vi­ously we did this all our­selves,” he says.

Cabaret award-win­ner and clowning mas­ter­class teacher Claire Bartholomew, who has worked as a hos­pi­tal Clown Doc­tor and is a na­tional train­ing ad­viser for The Hu­mour Foun­da­tion, was brought in to di­rect the new show.

“We’ve en­listed Claire to help strengthen our sto­ry­telling,” Bret­man says.

“Where Trash Test Dum­mies was quite ab­surd and non­lin­ear, Splash Test Dum­mies fol­lows a stronger nar­ra­tive and the au­di­ence re­ally goes on an aquatic ad­ven­ture with us, so Claire’s ex­ten­sive the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence is in­valu­able.”

Armed with ev­ery­thing from a gi­ant beach ball to wa­ter pis­tols and a huge bub­ble ma­chine, the Dum­mies will trans­form the Corona venue at the Gar­den of Un­earthly De­lights into a vol­ley­ball court, beach, bath­tub and an un­der­wa­ter par­adise.

Splash Test Dum­mies also fea­tures new rou­tines with uni­cy­cles, magic tricks and in­spir­ing pup­petry.

“We blur the lines be­tween the im­pos­si­ble and pos­si­ble. If we can get even some of our au­di­ence mem­bers to run with the idea that any­thing is pos­si­ble, we have achieved what we set out to do,” Bret­man says.

With his back­ground as a youth worker, Bret­man is also pas­sion­ate about us­ing cir­cus to im­prove the lives of young peo­ple across the coun­try, by en­cour­ag­ing imag­i­na­tion ex­pan­sion through play.

“We don’t talk down to kids. I’m a firm be­liever in this – It’s im­por­tant to us to make the work re­ally good,’’ he says.

“We are con­stantly im­prov­ing the show and giv­ing kids per­mis­sion to be in­volved (or not), but to trust us. It’s a re­ally safe space and it’s re­ally in­ter­ac­tive.” SEE: SPLASH TEST DUM­MIES, CORONA THE­ATRE, GAR­DEN OF UN­EARTHLY DE­LIGHTS, FE­BRU­ARY 16 - MARCH 18. TICK­ETS: FRINGETIX

IN THE SWIM: Jack Cole­man, Si­mon Wright and Jamie Bret­man are splash-test­ing at the Ade­laide Fringe.

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