Words by Teague Davis
It’s a classic story; man likes woman, 4 other men also like this woman, men show off acrobatic skills to win over woman, woman gives banana to one of the men, men then fight over banana with well-choreographed flips and spins, truly a tale as old as time.
Kin is the Barely Methodical Troupe’s second big show with the first being Bromance in 2015. It’s directed by Ben Duke, the Artistic Director of the Lost Dogs dance company, and devised by both Ben and the Barely Methodical. Kin sees 5 unnamed men (played by Jean-Daniel Broussé, Charlie Wheeller, Jonathan Bendtsen, Beren D’Amico and Louis Gift) compete to with the favour of one hard to impress woman (Nikki Rummer) in an X Factor-esque talent show. It premiered April 20th 2016 in the Roundhouse, London and if the troupe’s performance at The Lowry is anything to go by then a year of running has not slowed them down.
Story-wise Kin is abstract and basic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The story is used more as a means to an end; a reason for these physical displays to be performed and it works rather well. The simple yet effective talent show style setting gives us a good reason to see what our 5 hopefuls can do in solos, duets and ensemble pieces not to mention the brilliant character interactions that come about between the competitors. The woman is controlled and stern while the men are a bit awkward and all over the place at times. This shows us very clearly who has the power along with providing quite a lot of comedy through this juxtaposition of straight and silly.
Physically Kin is stupendous, the feats performed had the audience clapping, gasping and completely hooked throughout. What was most impressive is that the ante was constantly being upped with impressive tricks that were performed at the start and later looking like child’s play in comparison to the monumental stunts carried out by the end.
As expected with a contemporary circus piece the physical discipline of these performers showed was top notch. They could convey a wide number of things to the audience with just their bodies. They were strong yet graceful, they could be playful and at times subdued, dominant and submissive. There were moments of stillness and movement that expressed more about the characters than any of the brief instances of dialogue.
If ridiculous acrobatic stunts performed on a minimalist set by hilarious characters who are constantly one upping themselves is your kind of thing then look no further than Kin. It’s going to take you a while to find a show that blends all the above together quite as well as Kin does. It may have now left The Lowry with a standing ovation of thoroughly impressed audience members, but their tour is not yet over, with two more locations in the coming month it’s a must see for physical theatre fans the will not leave you disappointed.
Kin is still going out on tour and will be featured at Edinburgh Fringe Festival too. Check here for ticket information!