Charlie, Louis and Beren are obviously good friends. They have a chemistry that sets them apart from other acrobatic dance troupes. Their cheeky chappie and incredibly cool personalities add comedy value to a show built around being too cool to show friendly affection. Of course, this is a circus and dance show, so there are tumbles, flips and some great acrobatic work too.
The show opens with a dance constructed around handshakes. All three are well practiced and have great synchronicity and fluidity in their movements, which are nicely punctuated when the dance gets a bit too physical for their own personal spaces. Some simple ideas (a handshake, a trust fall) develop into a complex routine that incorporates martial arts tricking, capoeira and some contemporary dance. To lead into each circus piece, the group adopt typical playground tactics to isolate a third member; as it’s all clearly done in jest it makes the audience love the three performers even more.
Louis provides the base for the lifts in the acrobatic pieces. The music is a slightly annoying Einaudi-inspired repetitious composition that provides the background for Beren to act as flyer in the acrobalancing act. On the whole the moves are really impressive – the audience seem to love them. There are a couple of slips in the holds, some unsteadiness in the head balancing tricks, but the guys have built rapport with the crowd and so get away with these minor inconsistencies. Even after the routine, the performers have built their set around making fun of each other – Charlie and Beren try to recreate the lifts, but without Louis’s strength and muscle it doesn’t quite go to plan.
Charlie is clearly an expert at the Cyr wheel – a giant metal ring that is spun round (a bit like a coin would be) whilst the acrobat spins and balances inside it. This piece is the most impressive in the show; Charlie is so in tune with the music that the routine builds in time with it. The piece is filled with emotion, passion, a contemporary dance edge and most of all some incredible artistic skill that all combine to make a pretty flawless routine. Of course a Bromance routine wouldn’t be complete without the other guys interacting at the end of the set and Charlie’s control as he spins the hoop literally ‘over the top’ of Beren just shows how accomplished he is (thanks to Louis for the pun there!).
My main criticism of this show is that there isn’t enough of it. The audience are on their feet at the end of the routine and a standing ovation isn’t something any reviewer can ignore. I appreciate all of the segue material as it gives the shows its uniqueness and character, but in one hour I would have liked a couple more acrobatic pieces to show off the skills that the performers clearly have at their disposal.
Bromance plays at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows (venue 360) until August 29 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more information, visit the Fringe website.