Barely Methodical Troupe’s Shift at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival was an awe-inspiring, gravity-defying show that’s not to be missed. It was a stripped back performance with none of the razzmatazz you’d expect from a circus or acrobatic show. Instead, the beauty was in the sheer strength, will and determination of four the performers as they danced, flipped and flew across the stage.
The piece opened with four performers playing giant blue rubber bands – an integral piece in the whole performance. They joyously tied each other up and pinged each other across the stage, almost into the audience. Moving with grace, harmony and fluidity, both alone, in pairs or together as a group. They never stopped moving – even when they had landed a flip or twirled around in the Cyr wheel, it was so beautiful.
At times the performance was somewhat terrifying. The way they threw themselves and each other, around on stage, balancing on fingers or their necks, had you on the edge of your seat. In those moments you could have heard a pin drop. It really showed off their super-human strength and skill. The small stage meant that the audience could see every grimace and drop of sweat that went into gravity-defying moves.
Shift was surprisingly funny too. The ouches and the grunts they made upon landing, the way they interacted with each other and the cheesy band jokes gave the whole piece a rather cheekily humorous undertone. But it was the monologues and stories in-between the high octane acrobatics, that got the Adnams Spiegeltent roaring with laughter.
Shift at the Norfolk and Norwich festival really exceeded all expectations. It was a gripping, eye-opening, hilarious, and beautiful piece. The sheer strength and skill of the Barely Methodical Troupe really blew me away. It won’t be a performance that I’ll be forgetting anytime soon. What a fantastic way to celebrate 250 years of the modern circus.
Barely Methodical Troupe’s Shift at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival runs until Sunday 27th May.
All of my reviews of the Norfolk and Norwich festival can be found here.
With thanks to Chris Nash for the official photos.