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A feature by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

 


 

S2BN Entertainment and Ozono Producciones present


Fuerzabruta

 

 

Artistic director - Diqui James 


Musical director - Gaby Kerpel


Technical Director - Alejandro Garcia


General Coordinator – Faibo D’Aquila

 

Roundhouse

 

Until 2 March 2014

 

 

This winter, Camden’s inimitable Roundhouse is again playing home to Argentine spectacular, Fuerzabruta. Venue and show are superbly matched and scarcely an inch of space goes unused by this agile group, performing under a stage name which means brute force. The sensory extravaganza, all thumping beats, beaming smiles and deft movements is forceful indeed. While there’s not much depth behind the brawn no one has claimed there will be and so, heart on sleeve, Fuerzabruta swathes the Roundhouse in reflective curtains, glimmering aerial pools, a mass of confetti and rain showers.

A handsome suited gentleman has a series of face-on encounters with fierce wind and rain and walls of boxes whilst maintaining pace on a giant treadmill and receiving gunshot wounds. The audience watch him grapple in vain with picnic furniture while people travelling the other direction simply drop off the edge of the treadmill. This resilient effort on a road to nowhere seems to be the unwritten centrepiece of the show.

Two suspended shallow pools are lowered from the ceiling and six agile women make a splash inside them, sliding across the plastic, manipulating the water into shapes and throwing themselves down as if to threaten falling through onto the audience. The pools are then lowered within touching distance of the crowd beneath and interaction takes place between these ethereal beings and an enchanted audience. Bizarrely, the pools are then raised and much the same thing repeated again which doesn’t exactly seem necessary, especially for those outside the jurisdiction of the lowered pools, and thus the action, each time.

One of the visual highlights came in the form of two performers chasing each other around a giant silver curtain in fairly-like costumes. When moments of synchronicity were achieved this truly was a mesmerising spectacle as they bounced off the walls in unison into eventual blackness. Another feat was a dramatically dressed couple on two sides of a giant sail-like structure which was wheeled into the centre of the room. In a state of anguish they try in vain to reach each other while the sail spins and slackens and the muted audience look on.

The fact that there is no particular thread through the pieces allows for some peculiar interjections. At one point a woman on a crane like structure dances above the audience while they are doused in confetti and other members of the cast smash boxes of yet more confetti over anyone game for it. Then a gentleman in a red velvet jacket and wig hoots along with the stomping percussion in an effort to rouse the audience into rave-mode.

While the mechanics of this show are all too apparent for real immersion, there are undeniably moments of aural pleasure and visual wonder. The performers themselves seem ecstatic about their lot and deservedly so. It’s their job to have a massive party in front of a Roundhouse rammed with paying spectators twice a night. Unfortunately, even regular showers of water didn’t dissuade members of the London phone-in-hand contingent who are apparently programmed to film even the most urgent, uncapturable experience, whatever the risk.

The show is an all-standing affair without interval and use of the cloakroom for everything but what you have on your person would enhance the enjoyment factor. The night I attended show-leavers fell into two categories; those who had jovially swayed along to the acts admiring the spectacle, and soaking-wet, whooping ravers who had been absolutely enraptured and seemed in urgent need of somewhere to dance themselves clean.

 

 

 

 

Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8EH
Tickets: £32.50; £39.50; £46.50
http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/fuerzabruta
Box Office: boxoffice@roundhouse.org.uk // 0844 482 8008
 
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