★★ | 4 X 4 Cast Theatre, Doncaster
In an original fusion art form, where the gentle poise and delicacy of ballet meets the frenetic pace of juggling, progressive troupe ‘Gandini Juggling’ explore bringing order to chaos using mathematics, numbers, patterns and regularity in 4×4 as two very different sets of skills melt together.
Using symmetry, routine, repeating themes and the formation of geometric patterns, the intertwining of the two art forms proved to be a serene and strangely hypnotic experience at times. The sound of the original score by Nimrod Borenstein combined with the rhythmic chanting, the gentle thudding of the juggling and the performers bodies as percussion instruments; whilst, visually, the patterns formed by both objects flying through the air and the unison of the cast as they interweaved their respective skills and blended around each other came together to create visual and acoustic patterns which both soothed and stimulated simultaneously.
Breaking down the individual elements of the performance, the entire cast displayed talent, skill and a dedication to their art. The string ensemble score was beautiful at times, bringing with it the flavour of an Eastern European influence; the dancers were accomplished, supple and foot sure in their performance and the jugglers were well timed, rehearsed and solid.
However, despite their skill and talent, the show was uneven in its pace and presentation. It certainly had its moments where you were mesmerised by the movements on stage, but equally, the themes of symmetry and repetition led to the show itself feeling rather repetitive and almost as if it were going back over itself. There is absolutely no denying the talent of the cast overall, but despite some interesting visuals, wry humour and skilled performances, this show, unfortunately, didn’t quite come together to equal the sum of its parts.
4×4 was seen at CAST Theatre, Doncaster, who have a launched their new season, which features a variety of performances from a number of dance companies including Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern Ballet. For details of their full programme, see http://castindoncaster.com/ .
4×4 is on national tour at a number of venues across the country until 19th September 2015. Full details of the company, their tours and their work can be found at http://www.gandinijuggling.com/en