‘Gibbon’, by Chris Patfield and José Triguero, co-produced by Gandini Juggling

This response was produced as part of the #CircusVoices scheme for developing critical practice around circus arts.

Review from: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 13th August 2018

White tape, two chairs, two men in charcoal grey suits with dark red t-shirts and chamber music. Belts are brown, balls are white. ‘noble’ gazes into middle distance. We watch this portrait. We listen to the music. Music ends and intro breaks with comic surprise. Chairs are set at either side of tape square. An arena. They bow to each other. To us. Prepare to toss five balls each, Jose’s preparation more energetic than staid wry Chris. Perfectly executed drops to Bob Dylan on repeat: ‘How many roads must a man walk down’. Neither man does quite what the other wants or expects in their characterisation (in performance, both are exquisitely en pointe). Love the rhythms of varied drops, and it’s funny!

Lions? Just as I’m thinking this might work better for younger audiences, the break back into formality creates the laugh.

Back to challenge mode at sides of square, and another launch of intricate throws to each other, that end on the floor in fascinating rhythms. And it’s funny!

Some rehearsal process theatricalised for stage: planning looks and moves, executing different versions.

His head’s like a massive ball’ as Chris involves Jose’s body in choreography. Tensions of rehearsal emerge. Bodies weave together and physical concerns are verbally articulated. And, did I mention? It’s funny!

They toss and pass intricate patterns and share the process of verbalising and articulating their physical processes. The pair’s Gandini pedigree is evident in this self-created show. We – our audience presence – are acknowledged too. Helps non-juggling audience tap into craft employed and begin to understand what goes into a juggler’s art.

A game of throwing balls to each other and into the square. Live sound timed with throws and thuds of landing balls.

Animalisitic physicalisation is as precise and considered as their juggling skills, although reason for this integration is less clear. Gibbon eh?! Long articulate arms and flexible necks.

Lights up and ‘Whoop!… oh, sorry’ from behind me as action continues over burst of applause. They give it to us – the applause break – a few moments later.

Gibbon makes juggling/circus processes accessible. And funny!

Music suggests ape noises as we watch variations in 3-ball patterns, high, low, synchronised or divergent, stationary first, then in motion around the square. Patterns of sound and movement are engrossing and entrancing rather than meaningful.

Shall we do it?‘ ‘Again‘. Process of getting to the show moment is staged – will we get that culmination too? Square is lit.

Love how ‘the drop’ is factored in artistically so no break in mood is felt when an unplanned drop occurs. Juggling superskillfully crafted. Lions come back too!

Now we get a reflection on the sections we’ve already watched! And, still, it’s funny.

Finale of full Bob Dylan choreography ‘Blowin’ in the Wind

Beautiful movement. Juggling makes me happy!


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