Fuerzabruta – Fuerzabruta: Camden Roundhouse, London, 2 January 2013

The pools of your eyes

Fuerzabruta - bringing a whole new level to the game of Bulldog

Fuerzabruta – bringing a whole new level to the game of Bulldog

The start of Fuerzabruta’s self-titled physical theatre show was infectious. A cascade of drumming, dry ice billowing, lights flashing, ticker-tape flurrying and a tight-knit ball of aerialists swinging around the Camden Roundhouse’s cavernous interior just a few metres above the standing audience’s heads – that’s how you make an entrance. Completely exhilarating.

The, ahem, high point of the night’s performance, however, came about halfway through. Two transparent swimming pools descended from the roof with three bikini-bottomed (and wafer-thin topped) girls diving and thrashing about in each. Their bodies created all sorts of wonderful ripples as the water sloshed around in the gently tipping pools and the colourful lighting turned the spectacle into something even more beautiful. The pools then sank even lower, to within touching distance of the audience’s hands, and an undeniable sense of joy permeated the place as the performers waved and kissed and pressed their faces and limbs to the plastic. This whole section was magnificent.

Sadly, the pools soon returned to the skies and went dark. The rest of the show, almost inevitably, failed to live up to this extraordinary high. The two women chasing each other around a gigantic slice of tin foil and the crane-dangling girl ‘running’ around an invisible interior wall were entertaining to watch but there wasn’t enough variation of movement to hold the attention for long. The much-vaunted man blasting through walls was anti-climatically a man running through piles of cardboard boxes and the night’s finale must have been amazing if you were one of the four lucky people to be hoiked up onto the top of the giant inflatable dome.

Although highly original and visually impressive, great swathes of Fuerzabruta involved the audience being annoyingly moved around to make way for the next stunt’s technical equipment. There was also far too much reliance on loud, loud music to generate atmosphere and excitement when the company might have been better served in utilising more of the performers’ extraordinary personalities and energies. The performers, in fact, appeared to be having a whale of a time; so much so that it was difficult to shake the feeling they were often having more fun than we were.

Fuerzabruta runs until 26 January 2013 and tickets are available from the Roundhouse website.

Gerard Davis

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