Bromance at the Southbank Centre
Roll up, roll up – this may be a circus, but not as we know it. On entering Udderbelly’s purple cow-shaped venue on the Southbank, Barely Methodical’s creation is still somewhat of a mystery. The title and blurb in the programme give little away, and despite the prolific use of the word ‘circus’ to describe the act, the spartan stage in no way resembles the big top.
It all starts with a handshake, an encounter between three men set to contemporary cuts of speech and music. As the relationships develop (almost solely through movement) the handshakes blossom into cartwheels, flips and death-defying lifts that leave your jaw well and truly dropped and your heart somewhere in the vicinity of your mouth. Yet the acrobatic trio are much more than gymnasts – injections of comedy litter the narrative, whether through awkwardness, deliberately bad stunts, or even origami (yes, really). These skills make them not just acrobats, but also talented comedic actors. Their grace veers towards that of a dancer, and their tender depictions of relationships show insight and passion that a theatrical professional would envy. This circus has clowns, acrobats, dancers and dramatists all covered for the price of three artists.
Each sequence tells a tale, and each performer has a part to play: the awkward, gawky boy left out of the passionate clinch escapes into an astoundingly graceful and gravity-defying gymnastic routine with a hoop. The puckish boy with swagger and sauce leaps atop their giant companion with apparent ease in a dance of doomed erotic and romantic devotion, before leading a gestural dance of 80s-inspired funk. The giant (compared to the other two) displays feats of strength supporting multiple tumbles, lifts and stunts, yet portrays true emotional dejection in his falling routine that cuts the heart sore. The threesome transform over the course of the hour from performers to pure acrobats, never losing their warmth or humour, and carrying the audience through a roller-coaster of emotions with loaded glances, minimal speech and raw physical skill. Prepare to fall for the tumblers.
Bromance is on at Southbank’s Udderbelly Festival from 24th June until 19th July 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Bromance here:
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