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Downfall review at Clore Studio Royal Opera House London

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Short and sweet, Downfall is less about numbers than artistry. It is a series of enjoyable ensemble juggling sequences that opens and closes in the dark.

The women, wearing tunic tops and cut-offs, and the men, in slightly square-looking waistcoats and shirts, start by manipulating three white balls apiece, but are interrupted by Sean Gandini, who knocks one ball from each of them. It is virtually the only time anything is dropped. Increasing their tally to five each, there is an impressive interlude of 25 flying balls that morph into a fountain.

They follow this by bouncing orange balls in five panels of light, the noise sounding like a military tattoo, and then return to white balls that they deftly manipulate while seated at a long table. This is perhaps their least entertaining section.

Next follows an intricate maze of ring passing and placing, with three rings periodically being thrown in an arc towards three separate hands.

But the real wow factor comes with the finale, when light clubs are brought into play. These are internally lit transparent clubs that are ingeniously programmed to change colour in time with the music – Mozart’s Symphony 25 in G major. They put on a superb pyrotechnic extravaganza as the colours turn from white, blue and green to devilish red and orange followed by sweet-pea hues, and back again. There is an urban myth that the unrivalled juggler Anthony Gatto practises in the dark, but here Gandini Juggling actually perform in the dark – and how lovely it looks.

Production Information

Clore Studio, Royal Opera House, London, January 26-27

John-Paul Zaccarini and Sean Gandini
Gandini Juggling
Sean Gandini, Frederike Gerstner, Owen Reynolds, Inaki Fernandez Sastre, Kati Yla-Hokkala
Running time

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