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Byron Shire
December 4, 2022

Making circus a family affair

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Beeswax and Bottlecaps are the collective minds of Monica Trapan, George le Couture and Lil Tulloch.


Together they present a unique variety performance and vaudeville show being presented at the Mullum Circus Festival this weekend. The Echo spoke with Lil Tulloch on the road with baby, mother, husband and brother.

Tell me about the concept for The Boy Who was Born with a Moustache…

My fiancé George and I always wanted to write a family show that saluted old vaudeville and slapstick while trying to whisk the mind away. Once my mother Monica and my younger brother Atticus got involved we started writing a children’s book of the same name. It evolved into a hair-raising story of mishap evolving into moustache success. It is a hair-raising adventure of furry ancestors, quirky circus and a good whack of slapstick.

How did you work the show up from page to stage?

We began writing the story with a show in mind. We would all brainstorm ideas and, as the show is in Suessian metre, we would get the giggles creating rhymes of cowgirls with armpit hair, grandads with fabulous ear hair. A lot of our circus stage acts we have been developing for the last five years so it is nice to find a home for them. This has always been a family affair as we have built backdrops, sewn costumes and rehearsed together.

What are the key themes that you work with?

I have always loved my exuberant, if rather odd, family. It has always been wonderfully inclusive regardless of your persuasions, quirks or oddities. I like to encourage this in all the children I meet.

This show is about overcoming your supposed foibles as well as embracing the unconventional family.

Everyone loves your mum from Playschool… was that a blessing or a burden growing up?

My mother has a wondrously infectious personality.

The enthusiasm you saw on screen was what I have always grown up with (a healthy dose of added cheekiness).

It was tricky having a very hard-working, touring mum who was always recognised on the street but, in the long run, I wouldn’t swap it for anything. She is the other half of my brain; we have built and created so many projects together that it is always a hoot.

What are the lessons in life that she’s passed on to you along the way? Performing is certainly in the family!

I actually ran away to become a circus teacher, but the circus dragged me back. I have definitely picked up her work ethic and, for that reason, can’t remember my last day off! But I think the best advice has been that there isn’t any problem that can’t be nutted out over a delicious meal and good conversation.

What is it do you think that is so timeless about circus and vaudeville and the whole sideshow thing?

I hope it’s timeless! Unlike many artforms, vaudeville, circus and sideshow were built with entertainment in mind first. For the masses to suspend the woes of reality and be amazed, or to laugh or be shocked in wonder. In its purest form it should be accessible to everyone. All three styles of entertainment have to continue to morph to survive but the richness of history continues to be a wealth of information to draw from. 

What should we expect from your show at the Circus Festival? Audience interaction? Spills?

Chaos is probably the best word – and a lot of hair! We hope that we get kids of all ages (and adults) giggling.

Mullum Circus Festival, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For program and tickets go to mullumcircusfest.com.

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