Bromance – ASSEMBLY SPIEGELTENT PALAIS DU VARIÉTÉ

Created by Beren D’Amico, Louis Gift and Charlie Wheeller

Directed by Eddie Kay

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What’s in a handshake? Too strong, and you’re aggressive, assertive and likely overcompensating. Too feeble, and you’re weak, effeminate and submissive. Bromance takes the humble handshake, the deal maker of centuries and infuses a mixture of personal chemistry with humour and catapults male-companionship to new heights.

At the forefront of a progressive change-up of the social dynamics of experimental movement and circus troupes, Barely Methodical Troupe channels an affectionate relationship between three men into the elegance and fortitude of astonishing acrobatics, circus, parkour and awkward-yet engaging dance moves.

Just a cautionary reminder – remember to breathe between feats of amazement. But you’d be forgiven for forgetting this rather important fact, as the crescendo of Bromance builds to a conclusion, the structure of the feats and sets never waver and build upon the intensities of the previous.

Intimate, aspects extend beyond the physical as the trio demonstrate a disgustingly enviable comradery and trust which extends beyond the professional performance levels. The winks, the nudges, the delicacy in which they hold hands or jostle one another – there’s a simple explanation for why the show has astonishing chemistry and affection – it’s authentic.

Delicate lighting choices reflect momentous comments without the necessity of vocal confirmation, the solitary statue, cast in a more transcendent blue, reflects the internal struggles and refusal to talk with a fellow man – to reject emotional weakness. Bromance has an obvious grasp on the deconstruction of masculinity and relationships between men, but its communication through movement and stagecraft is the true sign of a thought process at the heart of the show.

By the conclusion of Bromance, the chaps may not be the only ones that require a cold shower. The sexualised nature of aspects plays directly into the hands of the production, but also merits a control of the body on their terms – this isn’t flesh on show for the sake of it, mostly, this is a sublime merging of masculine bravado with a more gentile and accepting level of comfort and acceptance.

Though a warning is necessary, or rather advice – the multi-layered dynamics of the acrobatics can be masked by audience members whenever the action takes place closer to the matt. It’s recommended that audience members arrive early and locate themselves near the front/edges for maximum viewing. For those latecomers and more secure further back, it only detracts in minor moments – usually more in the intermittent jokes and cooldowns.

Infusing the paradigms of masculinity to its core definitions, Bromance not only challenges but demolishes the expectations of toxic masculinity and entrusts the audience intimate understanding of tropes assigned to either femininity or masculine nature, merging them to break down barriers with jaw-dropping feats, snappy humour and a lot of sweat. 

Bromance runs at Assembly Spiegeltent in George Square Gardens until August 29th. Tickets are available here.

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