Trash Test Dummies

There’s an anarchic edge to the Trash Test Dummies – as might be expected from a circus troupe who go on to perform a succession of tricks and humorous gymnastics using that most utilitarian of urban objects, the wheelie bin. So it’s no surprise that the three Australian performers – burly Jamie Bretman, wiry Jack Coleman, and somewhat gangly Simon Wright – are prone to start clearing up the seats as audience members are still piling in. On the day of this review, they even “borrow” someone’s sweets and a woman’s mobile phone, taking a few audience shots and selfies before returning it to her. Later, when they have a serious falling out over some unintended injury, the by-then sweating cast take to hiding among the audience.

A show that barely pauses to catch its breath; a dynamic and fun show suitable for all the family.

The show proper starts with a routine based on the idea of throwing an empty plastic bottle into a black bin-bag, although a series of misses and misunderstandings ensures that it takes several attempts before a younger audience member is assisted to get the job done. Following this, the focus shifts to three of the numerous wheelie bins on stage; each becomes a partner of one of the performers in an at-times almost balletic choreography of human bodies moving in, out and on top of the bins as they’re dragged, pushed and otherwise lifted around the stage.

Performed with a minimum of speech – this is a physical comedy show – there’s no doubt about the circus skills each man brings to the stage, although I do wonder just how many accidents are going to occur now as kids attempt to climb into their own bins. For the duration of the show, though, the “dummies” certainly offer a playful way of looking at even the most boring household objects. Throw in some juggling, some physical comedy (which thankfully errs on the side of gymnastic rather than physical assault), easily identifiable movie references and lots – and I do mean lots – of coloured plastic balls, and the result is a show that barely pauses to catch its breath; a dynamic and fun show suitable for all the family.

I don’t usually reference anything said by my fellow audience members in my reviews, but the grey-haired lady sitting next to me was enamoured by the show as much as the young girl by her side. Though not perhaps for the same reason; she admitted to me that she wished her local bin-men were quite as active and good-looking at the Trash Test Dummies!

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues


Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre





The Blurb

Everyone put your bins out! Trash Test Dummies are back in Edinburgh from Australia! This sidesplitting, slapstick comedy circus delivers a dump truck of hilarity! Winners of Best Children’s Presentation at Adelaide Fringe 2016, the Trash Test Dummies are as full of laughs as their bins are full of surprises. Returning to the Fringe after sell-out shows in 2015, this award-winning comedy takes the household wheelie bin to new heights. 'Circus and acrobatic show perfect for families' ***** (Edinburgh Festival For Kids). 'Dungeree’d dummies from down under create an adventure playground out of dustbins' **** (Herald).