The newest show from Barely Methodical Troupe is impressive, playful and entertaining – but half-baked physical theatre and aimless choreography leave the audience feeling like we didn’t glimpse the full potential of these talented performers.
The circus aspect of the show is impressive, from acrobatics to breakdancing to the cyr wheel, all set to a perfectly-fitting soundtrack of soft rhythms and eerie, crackling silences. Although Barely Methodical Troupe has changed since the previous Fringe shows of Bromance and Kin, the performers of Shift have the wonderful chemistry that those stood out for. They interact both physically and verbally in a way that makes the audience feel as if we’re witnessing some kind of beautiful, mysterious game.
Most of the acrobatics go off without the slightest hint of a hitch. However, there are a couple of moments when a piece of equipment is not quite in the right place, or a position not quite reached, that give an impression that the performers are a bit too tired, pushing themselves just slightly too far.
The show is widely varied, keeping the audience entertained with a range of different styles. The frequent expressive looks at the audience for comic effect serve to keep us engaged, as does the endearing and often ridiculous audience interaction. However, while the show adds novelty with an inventive array of equipment, it is not always clear what the props are adding to the performance.
Daring physical challenges are interspersed with physical theatre, which is often very funny. But there are a number of dreamy story threads weaved out of beautiful physical performance only to be abandoned halfway through, leaving the audience with a bemused feeling of anti-climax.
The performers have obvious talent and chemistry which make for a very enjoyable show. Clearer and more confident direction would showcase this talent better, as well as the development of a few of its physical theatre storylines.