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Kin review at Roundhouse, London – ‘circus at its most exciting’

Barely Methodical Troupe’s Kin at the Roundhouse, London. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Wow. Barely Methodical Troupe’s follow up to its debut show, Bromance – premiering at the Roundhouse as part of CircusFest – vaults the ‘difficult second album’ issue with ease. Kin is a beautiful, sad, funny and complicated thing.

Everything is bigger this time around – not least the company itself, with Jonathan Bendsten, Jean Brousse and Nikki Rummer joining founding members (and National Centre for Circus Arts graduates) Beren D’Amico, Louis Gift and Charlie Wheeller.

Where Bromance explored male friendship, Kin uses this expanded ensemble to broaden the canvas. The production – vividly directed by Ben Duke, who also devised it with the company – uses circus as a powerfully effective vehicle to convey how it feels to jostle for attention, camaraderie and affection.

Nikki Rummer, armed with a clipboard and a buzzer, puts the men through a series of tests. From the five’s hilariously awkward Greek statue poses, to answers stuttered into a dangling microphone, there’s some deftly comic play with masculinity.

And from this pissing around, Kin blossoms into something visually arresting and emotionally vast. There’s no grandstanding without a payoff here. From Wheeller’s Cyr skills to some stunning ensemble acrobatics, it becomes a nimble parable for all the things we do in the face of loneliness.

This is circus at its most exciting, with its traditions liberated into a pulse-racing metaphor for how people relate. The confidence and creativity in Kin – the sense of originality driving everything – is exhilarating. Barely Methodical Troupe feel like the future.

Verdict
Stunning second show from one of the newest and most dynamic circus ensembles in the UK

Production Information

Production
Kin
Venue
Roundhouse
City
London
Starts
April 20, 2016
Ends
April 24, 2016
Press night
April 21, 2016
Creator
Ben Duke, Barely Methodical Troupe Director:
Director
Ben Duke
Set
Jackie Shemesh
Costume
Clio Alphas
Stage manager
Alex Johnston
Production manager
Hannah Blamire
Cast includes
Jonathan Bendsten, Jean Brousse, Beren D’Amico, Louis Gift, Nikki Rummer, Charlie Wheeller
Producer
Di Robson, Barely Methodical Troupe
Running time
1hr 40mins