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Montréal Complètement Cirque: Australia's Tom Tom Crew turns conventional circus wisdom on its head

“ It’s like a hip-hop circus. But it’s not really hip-hop and it’s not really circus.” Even after 5 years, Scott Maidment, creative director of Tom Tom Crew, is reluctant to categorize. This all xy-chromosomed Aussie group is a creative pastiche of drumming, beatboxing, DJing and flying (through acrobatics, of course). Why Tom Tom ? At one point there were two Toms in the crew. There was also the added onomatopoeic advantage that Tom Tom sounds like tam tams, and there’s a whole lotta drumming in the shows. Drummer Ben Walsh, for instance, has the ability to turn any object into a drum and beat the shit out of it. DJ Sampology and beatboxer Tom Thumb join Walsh to create the music live on stage while the acrobats perform daring acts.

“The music will follow the tumbling rather than the tumbling just being in time with the music,” explains Maidment. Here’s something a little different for Montrealers : a show void of a message. “ We really want the audience entertained rather than having a political message, ” says Maidment. No thinking is required for this one. It’s all about having fun. Maidment compares the experience to attending a rock concert or going to see a favourite DJ. The audience is encouraged to ‘ make some noise! ’

The circus is no stranger to Montreal, which is, after all, the birthplace of Cirque. But beware, Tom Tom Crew is not cirque, “it’s the complete opposite,” says Maidment. “ Still, a lot more people now go to the circus because of Cirque du Soleil, and we think that’s fantastic ! ”


Tom Tom Crew | July 11 to 23
Under Big Top at Radio-Canada | 1400, René-Lévesque E.
As part of Montréal Complètement Cirque, an initiative of La TOHU