Pros: As good as juggling gets, really. And there is a live orchestra and 4 pretty amazing ballet dancers, too. What else would you want?
Cons: Any longer and the magic would have been broken by the repetitive
This the season of the London Mime Festival at the Royal Opera House. You know, flexible people moving about, doing all sorts of expressive gimmicks with effortless nonchalance. So, how about a world premier of Gandini Juggling’s new show? Yes, Sean Gandini, the same guy who produced the international hit Smashed in 2013, is back with a new phenomenal display of balls, clubs and rings being thrown, captured, suspended and danced about. Oh, yes, that’s easy you might say. Well, take four jugglers and start by adding four ballet dancers, then get them moving to mathematical perfection, throw in some witty banter and a specially composed new melody played by a live orchestra. Finally, place them on stage at the Linbury Theatre, ROH, Covent Garden. Now you got it!
This show is not your ordinary set of street juggling. This is what you get when you fuse art forms so different that they shouldn’t really rub elbows on stage together, whilst at the same time trying to explain order and perfection to mathematical rules. Ouch, this hurts – it’s just too much to take on! Well, I might just sit back then, and enjoy this 60 minute feast of dancing. It all starts with the jugglers warming up their balls, rolling out the mathematical rules that will accompany the rest of the performance. A hypnotizing melody follows the steps of the ballet dancers, cheekily gaining positions from behind.
Soon we are transported to a dimension of architectural symmetry where everything seems to be related yet all remains singular. And as the ballet dancers become jugglers and the lights start dancing with the music, I just lean back and smile. What a pleasure for the senses. And the witty finale adds a bit of variety to an engaging but otherwise inevitably repetitive pattern.
Dancers Kieran Stoneley, Kate Byrne, Erin O’Toole and Joe Bishop and jugglers Kim Huynh, Sakari Männistö, Owen Reynolds and Kati Ylä-Hokkala will absorb you into a dimension where it is just nice to snuggle up and stop thinking. Meditation at ROH, bring it on!
The three nights run at Mime Festival finishes on 15th January but don’t despair, the Gandini band will be on UK tour from the 5th February. Highly recommended.
Performed by: Gandini Juggling
Directed by: Sean Gandini
Music by: Nimrod Borenstein
Lighting: Guy Hoare.