Bromance

Fri 7th – Sat 29th August 2015

reviews

Simon Fearn

at 09:22 on 9th Aug 2015

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Any Fringe experience is certain to be improved by seeing Bromance. Even if physical theatre is not your thing, I implore you to go! It’s shocking, witty and often beautiful to watch.

Bromance is acrobatic circus company Barely Methodical Troupe’s debut show. The three male performers (Charlie Wheeller, Beren D’Amico and Louis Gift) had the smart idea to stage physical theatre themed around male awkwardness about physical intimacy, and it has paid dividends.

The production may be a little slow to get going, but once it hits its stride it’s impossible to take your eyes away from. I found myself gasping regularly, unable to believe that the men had attempted something which would under normal circumstances lead to broken bones and consistently manage to pull it off.

There was little about the show that wasn’t visually stunning. The fluidity of the routines involving all three performers was a joy to behold. The group had real chemistry, and throughout the show they managed to capture fluctuations in their relationships with each through their acrobatics. There were also some incredibly impressive individual turns. Wheeller does things with a giant hula hoop that have to be seen to be believed, whilst D’Amico certainly knows how to bust some moves, often whilst suspended on the top of Gift’s head.

Aside from the amazing physical feats accomplished during the show, Bromance is also surprisingly emotional. All of the men stay in character throughout as men that want to connect with each other, but cannot do so without embarrassment. The performers experiment with different forms of physical contact, in an effort to retain their “manliness”. This is both affecting, and often very funny.

Another bonus is that that the group don’t take themselves too seriously, and often mock each other after captivating an audience with their acrobatic talents. A perfect routine involving Gift throwing D’Amico around like there’s no tomorrow is improved when Wheeller attempts the same thing and purposefully makes a mess of it.

Halfway through watching this show I realised it was truly special. When the well-chosen music surged to a climax and the acrobatics became increasingly unbelievable, I imagine most people’s hearts beat a little faster. Each new feat was greeted with rapturous applause, and by the end at least half of the audience rose in a standing ovation. Proof enough that it would be a tragedy to miss Bromance, which is most definitely a Fringe highlight.

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Izzie Fernandes

at 10:08 on 9th Aug 2015

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This spectacle began with a demonstration of awkward handshakes and sporadic silences designed to produce the awkward vibe which the three performers (Charlie Wheeller, Beren D’Amico and Louis Gift) seemed to thrive upon. The playfulness on which their clearly close relationship was based quickly became overt. Once we’d met Beren, Charlie and Louis, this trio, The Barely Methodical Troupe, took the stage by storm.

The initially awkward, schoolboy silences were soon filled by what can only be described as a superb display of strength, trust and unity. Acrobats but no trapeze. Ballerinas but no point shoes. Break dancers but no hoodies, it would do the crew injustice to pigeonhole them as anything other than physical phenomenons.

Naturally it took a few minutes to understand the extent of the skill which these young guys exercised. Beginning with a series of intentionally clumsy handshakes, comical one-liners and prancing, dancing and falling (albeit with astounding grace) on top of one another and across the stage, the show escalated into a demonstration of just how strong (both physically and emotionally) this bromance really was.

One the music intensified and the awkward pauses became fewer and further between, the bromance exuded business. Think Spiderman meets the Black Swan. The dreamy duo, Beren and Louis (little and large) hastened the pace and set things in motion with a dazzling performance of muscle and synchronization. Balancing upside down with one hand Louis’s head, Beren’s transformation into a something closer to a bouncy ball than a man led the entranced audience into frequent rounds of applause.

Whilst this ball of energy and his beautifully strong yet shockingly graceful partner hit the audience with their best runs, throws and lifts, Charlie, the delightful middle man and resident clown acted almost as a hype-man. These transitions from a tight, technical and terrifying displays of talent to the slapstick of all three guys kept the audience on their toes.

And after another comically mimed standoff between the bromance, incorporating the patting of pecks, tightening of t-shirts and fondling of one another’s hands, Charlie the clown showed incredible grace, control and command of the huge hula hoop on the stage. This unity of hoop and body as he catapulted in every forwards, backwards, upside down and inside direction defied belief. In this moment the use of powerful musical accompaniment is worth noting.

With these three young guys performing their romantic bromance through dance, it would be naive not to mention just how pleasing to the eye The Barely Methodical Troupe proved to be. Not only was the physical power and revelation of a talented and brotherly romance touching but this group of sculpted men gave a more than memorable finale.

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