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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Fruit Flies Like a Banana

The Fourth Wall Ensemble

Genre: Acrobatics, Cabaret, Children's Theatre, Family, Live Music, Physical Comedy

Venue: Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose downstairs


Low Down

Three performers. 20+ acts. 60 minutes (15 acts in 45 minutes for the kids version). Music, theatre and dance collide in this madcap variety show. The Fourth Wall combines stellar musicianship with daring physicality to make music that leaps off the stage. Audiences choose the show order in this fast-paced, vaudeville experience. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit Flies Like a Banana!


The Fourth Wall aims to breaks the barrier between serious art and serious fun. Their vaudeville-inspired show, “Fruit Flies Like a Banana” has two versions on offer during this fringe. The morning show is aimed specifically at a younger audience with shorter pieces and a running time of 45 minutes. The family show at 4.30 is 60 minutes and includes more pieces and more background to the music. Both are based on the same principle and material i.e. to bring a range of musical styles and performance pieces, all played whilst performing seemingly impossible acrobatics!

The three performers are: Hilary Abigana (flute and piccolo); C. Neil Parsons (trombone) and Greg Jukes (percussion and accordion)

I saw Fruit Flies Like a Banana (Kids!) and the audience loved it. The fourth wall name refers to their aim to break the fourth wall of the barrier between performers and audience in their work and they certainly do that.

The premise is simple: 15 pieces of music played over 45 minutes in whatever order the audience would like to hear them. There is a list displayed on one side of the stage and a line with the numbers 1 to 15 pegged on it across the rear of the stage. After the initial piece and an introduction the next piece is chosen by a child in the audience.

The thing that sets them apart from a trio performing a concert is the sheer energy, pace and acrobatics of their style. I’ve seen many a very skilled flautist but never one playing Satie whilst suspended upside down.

They work wonderfully as a group, playing off each other both musically and physically as they leap, cavort, dance, duck each other’s instrument. There is no compromise in the quality of their playing, they are all virtuoso players who sparkle with every piece – whether Bach, Scott Joplin or the theme to Superman. You cannot help but smile throughout.

They have presented an ever evolving and shifting version of Fruit Flies like a Banana for several years; however, I confess it wasn’t a title that caught my eye. I might have missed it completely were it not for two youngsters in a queue for another show I was reviewing. They were enthusing about it and then spotted fruit flying Hilary and insisted that I meet her. I was intrigued by the fact that she was managing two similar shows for different audiences so arranged to see the show and to do an audio interview as well as reviewing the show. You can listen to the audio interview here.

This is a thoroughly polished performance from three very skilled and confident musicians. There is plenty of variety across the pieces to be sure that everyone leaves with at least two or three they want to tell their friends about. It deserves to be selling out at every performance.