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Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus

Two motley performers. A couple of apples, a banana, a stepladder. No dialogue. All not necessarily at the same time. One hour 5 minutes. A daunting prospect for even the most diehard of physical/clown aficionados. But watch what happens when double act Baccala Clown notice there’s an audience watching them… What follows is an extraordinary, riveting three-way experience where the clowns vie with each other to impress their newly discovered audience, while the audience finds itself a part of the show, urging the pair on out of sheer wonder over what they’ll come up with next. Finding an apple leads to a polite tussle over who can first show their chops with the unfortunate fruit. The delighted rivalry between Camilla Pessi and Simone Fassari is so infectious that we find ourselves applauding the clown who has juggled a mere single round with a single apple. And then we roar our anticipation when a second apple is discovered and the stakes are upped. Sharing a banana leads to tense, magical slapstick and the sudden appearance of a tantalising trapeze. Mix in a musical stepladder and an oompah waltz and somehow you have one of the most magical shows on the circuit. Directed by Louis Spagna, Swiss-based Pessi and Fassari work with focused yet always fluid movement, their faces producing expressions you could catch from the back of a hall 10 times bigger, projecting an innocent, minimalistic knowingness that is more Keaton than Chaplin. Like Keaton too they use space – physical and temporal – to set a beat for the comedy, and get real laughs while setting up a compelling narrative. Less has rarely appeared to be so much more, and rarely this much fun.

Nick Awde