Director: Eddie Kay
Reviewer: Rich Jevons
Bromance begins quite bizarrely, with a ceremony of exaggerated handshakes and hilarious armpit-sniffing that results in the three performers (Beren D’Amico, Louis Gift and Charlie Wheeler) tied up in knots of limbs. There follows a series of sequences of athletic action with mirrored madcap movement interspersed with stillness and pregnant silences that are almost unbearable. At these points the troupe members stare into space as if lost in distant reverie and blissfully unaware that they are performing.
The narrative is loosely based around that old adage of “two’s company, three’s a crowd” with, initially at least, Louis and Charlie bonding while Beren is rather shunned and left out. Some of the acrobatic feats are truly astonishing, like handstands supported only by a partner’s hands reached above and followed by a fast drop that is magically caught below.
There are innumerable tricks and contortions which are a pure delight, displaying astounding agility and boundless energy. At some points the performer will coil up like a spring before bursting into frantic and frenetic movement. Also, no attempt is made to hide the extreme effort that is demanded of them. We see them panting, sweating, aching and flinching quite naturalistically.
A sequence of saucy sexual gyrations builds up to a well-earned break where the three buddies line up as if at a urinal, whereas in fact they are making origami paper birds. These are then produced and Louis’ is the smallest of the three for which he is ridiculed and isolated, an in-joke on whether size matters, not at all lost on the boisterous teenagers in the audience.
Louis then goes in a sulk and no amount of flings onto his torso can make him break his hands-in-pocket sullen mood. One of the highlights of the show has to be Charlie Wheeller’s Cyr wheel solo – if you haven’t seen this done before then this is a real treat. It uses the momentum from a steel circular hoop to perform balletic moves with the illusion of floating in mid-air. It is simply astounding the way the tension builds up with the dizzying dives and tumbles all made to look natural and simple but still fantastically dramatic to watch.
Louis and Beren then return and before long the trio are stripped down to their boxer shorts which has the Huddersfield audience quite hysterical with the on-stage red hot raunchiness. They really know how to read and play a crowd and it is important to point out that at no point is this purely laddish behaviour or macho posturing. Yes, it is about male bonding, but a type that reveals a vulnerable sensitivity and softness all of its own.
Reviewed on: 21st May 2015 then touring
Photo Credit: Chris Nash