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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 19, 2001

Fruit Fly magically enthralls young, old

By Ana Paula Hofling

 •  The Flying Fruit Fly Circus

7:30 p.m. today, 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday

Hawai'i Theatre

$30-$45 (some discounts available); call 528-0506

After fidgeting for half an hour outside the Hawai'i Theatre the other night waiting for a delayed curtain time, keiki and their families were allowed inside, where colorful chairs awaited them on a curtainless stage. The Australian group Flying Fruit Fly Circus, with its troupe of young performers (ages 11-19), proved to be well worth the wait.

Like other contemporary circuses, Fruit Fly's "The Gift" uses a thin plot — the new kid in school who is at first ostracized and later accepted — as a pretext for stringing together the things we really want when we go to see the circus: the trapeze, the tumbling, the juggling, bodies balancing and diving through hoops.

What makes Fruit Fly different from other circuses is that these young performers are allowed to be kids on stage. Although the performance is well-rehearsed and polished, there is space for that missed juggling pin that falls on the floor — it's immediately picked up and the performers start over without missing a beat.

The performers are disciplined, well-trained, gutsy, beautiful movers who show, above all, that they know the meaning of teamwork. Precisely choreographed group leaps and tumbles, balancing on multiple chairs and what they call the "group bike," demonstrate incredible coordination.

The dance element included in this show is minimal, yet interweaves well within and between the acts. The performers' strength is acrobatics, but they also share a lighter side, as when they feign losing their balance or missing their marks, drawing belly laughs from the young ones in the audience.

This circus doesn't have a traditional magician pulling rabbits from a hat, but certainly has enough magic to mesmerize and enchant keiki and adults alike. Not to be missed.

Ana Paula Hofling is a dancer and dance teacher pursuing a master's degree in choreography at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa.