There’s something sweet and almost childlike about the way Simone Fassari and Camilla Pessi interact on stage. At times, they behave like primary school pals winding each other up in the playground, other times they’re sparring lovers breaking and remaking a romantic bond.
Venue: Assembly Roxy (Venue 139)
He (Simone) wants to keep his banana to himself, she wants more hugs than he seems willing to give. But from such simple exchanges, some seriously clever clowning is born. Occasionally it strays into the territory of very high calibre children’s party entertainment, but mostly their interactions highlight the duo’s formidable talent – which becomes more and more apparent as the show develops. The seemingly throw-away but perfectly targeted looks to the audience; the musical interludes on trumpet, accordion and old ladder (yes, who knew that that could double as a brass instrument?); the acrobatics which find Pessi using her head to balance on top of his without hands – all this and more prove that Switzerland’s Compagnia Baccalà know more than a thing or two about circus.
Equally impressive is the fact that neither of them speaks at any point. Who needs words when you can communicate everything that needs to be said through two wonderfully expressive faces? Especially when a splash of jaunty music tells us the fun is about to change direction.
Circus skills are ubiquitous in modern theatre, but few are willing to take real risks, so it comes as something of a shock to find Fassari and Pessi tussling with each other with real physical abandon, on a trapeze swing 20 feet off the ground, with no mat or harness. They’re in complete control, of course, but that childlike innocence has us all rooting for them every step of the way.
• Until 29 August. Today 4pm