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16 February 2017
By RORY PAYNE - Lichfield Garrick Blogger
Barely Methodical Troupe who have brought their performance “Bromance”, to the Lichfield Garrick, describe themselves as, “an experimental acrobatic circus company.” The show is an hour-long journey that not only exhibits a mastery of the physical body, but tells stories of masculinity, fraternity and what it is to belong.
Gender is perhaps one of the most debated topics of this decade, a real societal struggle to untie all of the knots that previous generations have tightened. The male story is one of violence, death, crime, loneliness, suicide anger and many other tough negative outcomes. However “Bromance” manages to explore the intricacies and difficulties of masculinity with that very same brute force and strength that often taints it.
So uncomfortable are we with male friendship that the audience laugh when two of the guys find themselves accidently holding hands. The troupe play on this awkwardness and the “rules” that keep men from the physical contact they so desperately need. As they perform and move and touch one another in brilliant choreographed pieces the audience is doing more than enjoying a spectacle, they are questioning the relationships between the three men on stage. Are they good friends? Are they gay? Are they joking? Are they romantic?
People have become so embarrassed and insecure about their masculinities they seem to have forgotten male-male love. That men can love one another without it being homosexual. That as men we are just little boys inside who long for love and attention. This delicate feeling of inclusion is played with and the three cast out and reject one another at various intervals. Sometime because they feel are unworthy of the affection given to them, sometimes because they feel too vulnerable to accept it.
Barely Methodical Troupe tells a story with “Bromance” of the true essence of masculinity today. They explore how it is to feel synchronised with friends but also how it feels to fall out of that same rhythm. By the end of the performance they are down to only their boxers and through their mastery of acrobatics they stand tall like a totem pole with each guy standing upon the shoulders of the man below him. A powerful image of the strength of men, the beauty of their form and the real life weight and pressure that masculinity can burden on their shoulders.
“Bromance” lets you leave to theatre with hope and proof that men can be close, intimate and love each other. It challenges the audience to think about what reactions we have to men and their physical interactions with other men, and why we have them. Overall it gives hope that the way we view friendship between males is changing, and that more love in the world cannot be a bad thing at all.
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