This review is from 'Bromance's June run at the London Udderbelly
Jay Z and Kanye West; Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart; Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller: a bromance can be a beautiful thing. And it’s most definitely working for new circus trio Barely Methodical Troupe who, in their first show, take platonic man love to a new acrobatic level.
But does three make a crowd? The company riff on that possibility in this high-fun, low-key piece, which mixes goofy clowning and pared-back-but-astonishing circus skills. Each performer has their own quirky characters: there’s the big, muscleman (Louis Gift); the small cheeky one (Beren D’Amico); and the hopefull odd-one-out (Charlie Wheeller). Over the hour-long ‘Bromance’ we see them vying for each other’s (and our) attention by stupid dancing, kooky double takes and shows of impressive (and sometimes deliberately much less impressive) machismo.
Within all that are some smooth, startling sequences of pure acrobatics which mix free-running, pure contemporary dance and lots of lifts, throws and balancing acts set to music. Wheeller swoops on the cyr wheel – a huge hoop that he stands within and swings around the stage – D’Amico and Gift perform some gobsmackingly low and stomach-churningly high throws. They work hand-to-hand, body to body twisting and turning with grace, agility and much humour.
Recent graduates from The Circus Space in Hoxton, Barely Methodical’s acrobatic skills are clearly strong. But it’s the whole package – the down-to-earth performance style and the peacock prancing – that make ‘Bromance’ one of the most charming circus shows. They are the stupid but sweet guys you knew at school, boys just mucking about, men behaving badly, except here they are genuinely entertaining. Jay Z and Kanye’s love-in may be cute, but Barely Methodical Troupe’s ‘Bromance’ is where the buddy action is really at.