Barely Methodical Troupe last brought their hit circus show to the Fringe in 2019. This year, Bromance is back at Assembly in a beautiful Spiegeltent and looks set to be just as much of a hit in 2021.
The title’s a clue but Bromance explores more than just male camaraderie. It delves into what it is to be a man, whether close friendship and masculinity can comfortably co-exist between men, takes a hop, skip and gazelle-like leap into many of the tropes that exist in and around manhood – and throws a bunch of awesome acrobatic feats in for good measure.
The show’s about to see a cast change but for this performance, Adam Fullick appears on the stage out of the darkness with a cheeky strut and a twinkle in his eye. He’s a versatile performer, lifting, being lifted (and flung), hurtling through some incredible acrobatics and taking a wee spin on the Cyr wheel. Peter Shirley does incredible things with the Cyr wheel, throws some brilliant shapes (he’s a breakdancer as well as an acrobat) and his sense of comedy has the kids in the audience chortling and snorting with delight. And putting Arthur Parsons’ incredible strength and balance to one side, he also brings a beautiful tenderness to the show.
A bouncy boisterous soundtrack, some neat lighting from Laura, their tech lady, a handful of props and you have a thrilling 55 minutes of mind-boggling but apparently effortless artistry. Aside from being gorgeous, the sightlines mean the Spiegeltent isn’t quite the perfect location for this show. Enough of it takes place close enough to the ground that seeing it is something of a challenge if you’re not on the front row. But that’s kind of the charm of the Fringe. Get there early, bag a seat at the front and enjoy the view.
We’ve all had different, often terrible, experiences during the past eighteen months of the pandemic. It’s absurd to suggest that a circus show is anything like an antidote, but there is something magical in the collective intake of audience breath, even if we’re all masked up, as the incredibly athletic performers hurl each other about this intimate space. It’s a heart-warming, uplifting reminder, should we need it, that people can do incredible things.