Tuesday, June 25

The 7 Fingers: Duel Reality – Underbelly Circus Hub

Now, here is an oddity, a show I have seen twice, once on preview night at the start of the Fringe, and again tonight, and I can immediately see improvements! The first thing to say, is that this show is best viewed from the central seating area (where I was tonight), if you can.

Duel reality starts with a beautifully choreographed fight scene between the two ‘sides’ of the ten-strong troupe, pitting the blues against the reds. To add to the audience experience you are given a wrist band of blue or red as you enter the circus tent and ‘requested’ to support your team. There is whooping, clapping, screaming from the audience – this idea sounds like it is working well!

Raising the stakes of the team struggle, we soon come to realise that Blue is Capulet and Red is Montague and the troupe are playing out the classic tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet. Trying to bring a theatrical theme into the circus tent is a good idea, on paper, but in reality not entirely successful. The diction and delivery of lines and emotional performing is circus quality – thankfully there is not much of this, but perhaps I’m being overly harsh.

The circus stunts, throws, catches and death-defying feats are all brilliantly performed and pretty damn amazing, to be fair, and the imperative driving the performances forward, if not perfect, is certainly a clever structural idea.

Where this works at its absolute best is in the performances between the Romeo and Juliet characters. Both performers are highly skilled dancers and acrobats, and also supremely strong, and there are some moments of sublime union on the floor and on the high trapeze. This all climaxes in a fine ending, which let’s just say is a bit happier that the Shakespeare original!

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 22nd August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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