Following their smash-hit Bromance at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Barely Methodical Troupe return with Kin, a daring and innovative hybrid of circus and theatre.
Five men compete for the affections of one woman, pushing for individual opportunities to earn recognition, and challenge one another’s resolve to emerge victorious. Boyish humour dissolves in moments of frustration, excitement and pride, binding emotion to impossible acrobatics. The company are at the forefront of British circus in creating a new kind of physical performance, and the result is extraordinary.
Five white pedestals sit against a black curtain, and look out across a vast panel mat. A clear glass office desk is lit by a moving spotlight, finished with a block-red retro telephone, a microphone, and push button switches. Each contestant has a numbered patch sewn to the right thigh of his tracksuit, and they are called forth in turn in a display of strength, unusual talent, and for sentimental interrogation.
Their Judge (Nikki Rummer) watches her suitors, blank and beautiful, evaluating their worth as if she were sifting precious and semi-precious stones. Sequences of contemporary dance test flexibility and measure confidence, demanding a fervid flirtation with danger. If her rules are broken, she becomes most displeased, and this dissatisfaction is known by its target quickly. Analogous of the power of the feminine, Rummer radiates an energy that demands immediate attention, and she does not have to say a word.
The performers fly through the air and throw each other to the ground. Their athleticism is impressive – a display involving a cyr wheel is enough to send shivers down the spine. However, they do not match Rummer’s Divine elasticity. Her deftness blasts through the distractions devised by our society today – she owns her power, and is completely untouchable.
Barely Methodical Troupe assess the human condition with a canon of measures. Balance and trust transform moments of flight, and parkour and b-boying create exotic shapes before the crew fall, are caught, and then fall again. At some point during this examination of humanity, the troupe become inhuman. The gravity of this world is suddenly negotiable, and it seems as though their bodies cannot be tamed by natural laws. A powerful kinship develops as time passes, and soon the six become one. The red telephone rings intermittently as a pertinent reminder of Rummer’s fear of being alone. But she can only choose one.
This sensual and jocular piece is sublime, and imparts a subliminal inspiration: forget modern teachings of powerlessness, and turn away from destructive limitations that deplete self esteem. You are not alone.
Kin is playing at Underbelly’s Circus Hub until August 26. For more information and tickets, see www.tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/kin