Barely Methodical Troupe: Kin, The Roundhouse, circus review: ‘Mesmerisingly feminist’

Barely Methodical Troupe: Kin
Circusfest 2016
Photograph by David Levene

Barely Methodical Troupe: Kin Circusfest 2016 Roundhouse London Photograph by David Levene 21/4/16 - Credit: David Levene

BMT’s hit debut show Bromance was an electric and funny exploration of male trust and bonding among a troupe of British performers who all trained together.

In their second show as part of The Roundhouse’s biannual contemporary circus festival, a lone female is thrown into the mix and issues around power and control play out in an amusing cross between Britain’s Got Talent and a beauty pageant.

Our five heroes, on pedestals toting vine leaf crowns are put through their paces by Nikki Rummer’s initially impassive judge.

They simper and jostle for her attention, show off their tricks of juggling, drumming, dancing and acrobatics, and answer questions about their family and fears.

She hits the buzzer to dismiss them – literally - walks all over them, and rewards them with a banana.

But as the pecking order shifts and they have to physically rely on each other in a series of flying leaps and hand to hand balances, she confesses her own fear of being alone.

Director Ben Duke achieves a winning blend of hilarity – the boys are all excellent clowns – visceral physicality, and a narrative thread that pulls you along from trick to trick.

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A knock-out routine involves a performer spinning inside a cyr wheel.

And while the vertiginous teeterboard flips don’t always land perfectly, your are rooting for each and every one.

A trained gymnast, Rummer’s compact muscularity and physical precision remind you how often female circus performers play a submissive role.

She’s a mesmerisingly expressive performer and from a feminist perspective, it’s thoroughly uplifting to see the tables turned for a while.

Barely Methodical Troupe: Kin is at The Roundhouse.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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