Pros: Stunning acrobatics and plenty of humour. Provides thought-provoking images about masculinity and family.
Cons: Remains possibly too subtle in its verdict.
What can we achieve when we support each other? The performers of experimental acrobatic circus company Barely Methodical Troupe know better than most. During this 55 minute show I saw hand to hand acrobatics and cyr wheel work that was breathtaking in its daring and accuracy. The tricks were woven into a piece that explored the current crisis of masculinity, gender roles, and family.
Taking the visual language of a talent show/audition, the five men compete for the approval of a lone female (trained gymnast Nikki Rummer) whose sharply tailored costume deliberately displayed her muscular arms and had shades of the dominatrix about it. The men seemed to exist in an unpredictable and constricted world, called only by number, forced to perform tricks for bananas and risk the humiliation of rejection. There’s no doubt that – superficially at least – the woman is in charge, as she climbs a man by his ears and walks across their heads. However, she also answers to an unseen figure who interrupts from time to time via a call on a red telephone.
The notion of female dominance was taken to the limit with a heart-stopping balance: wearing a huge black cloak Nikki stood on the shoulders of a man who stood on the shoulders of another to form a magnificent yet fragile tower of strength. This merged into a tender duet where the supporting role was shared, but the 60s girl-group love song which accompanied it hinted that perhaps this was nothing but nostalgia.
What we fear and who we trust are key in acrobatics as in life, and family – kin – can make or break you. This dysfunctional circus family finished with an audacious set piece on a huge teeter-board. To the swelling music of ‘Je Ne Regrette Rien’ they endured the highs and lows of love, willing to risk everything for each other.
Director: Ben Duke
Acrobats: Johnathan Bendtsen, Jean-Daniel Brousse, Beren D’Amico, Arthur Parsons, Nikki Rummer, Charlie Wheeller
Producer: Di Robinson
Booking Until: 26 August 2017
Box Office: 0131 266 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/kin