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Edinburgh Fringe 2021


Barely Methodical Troupe

Genre: Circus, Dance and Movement Theatre

Venue: Assembly Palais-du-variete


Low Down

The humble handshake starts as our entry point as one, then two and finally three meet in the centre of our eyeline to exchange pleasantries. Pretty soon the existing relationship between all three is exposed through decent locker room quality banter between them with each making some fun of the others. The performance grows with circus skills, tumbling, somersaults and balancing at a high level before the narrative leads to work with the hoop on the floor and we are treated to an end which has our three amigos, balancing on top of each other until the final image of all three, all depending on each other, is a final impressive metaphorical image.


There is plenty to be impressed by in terms of this performance physically. All three have honed their craft to an exceptional level. Whilst there are typical tumbles and moving across the stage in ways that I can only dream of doing, it is managed within a strong context. The relationships between all three manage to keep the pace up and we are in their palms from the beginning to the end.

The structure does allow for the whole performance to sit comfortably within itself and there are plenty of looks, glances and support that establish the relationships. At the heart of it all is that sense of relationship. It is more than the fact that each depends on the others to perform but also the nuances of friendships – knowing looks, careful glances, gently ribbing are used to frame the performance and gives us a guide through which each fall and tumble is being used to explore those relationships. It works exceptionally well.

The timing of each performer is impeccable. When they are showing double thumbs up sarcastically, the reaction of the crowd is as if we are all in on the joke – mainly because we are. It is very well done. This is never more so than when there is an attempt for one of them to get into the hoop. One is encouraging them in, the other is supporting them to achieve it whilst the third, the largest of the three, appears apprehensive. As an example of why this works so well this shows the multi-layer approach being used as we have the relationship, the motif and the skill ably demonstrated in one section. It follows this piece throughout. This is a highly playful and impressive piece of theatre.

Where it is slightly less impressive comes in the adaptation to the venue. Sight lines beyond four or five rows back is almost impossible for some of it as there is a lot of floor work. It leads to us all having to either strain, move or miss some of the great work.

It is a pity because of the circus work I have seen over the years, this sits brilliantly in the not so showy or over produced false circus show but more of an honest endeavor trying to show us something and entertain at the same time and it does so beautifully.