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Review: Grace rather than gasps in Pirates of The Carabina's: Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine, Roundhouse

...it is in many ways an entertaining show but it is also a show that feels more about grace than gasps and I missed those nerve-jangling, pulse-raising moments you normally get with acrobatics.

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Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine. Photograph by Ollie Millington

Pirates of the Carabina are more than acrobats they are also clowns, singers and musicians.

So while one of them is hanging spectacularly by their feet from a hoop that is being spun above the stage another is singing or playing guitar in the onstage band.

As well as the band the lights sometimes fall on a group of singers up in the balcony.

The rhythm and tone of the music and singing introduce the pace and style of each sequence of acrobatics and clowning.

There are graceful pieces, that are almost balletic when combined with the music where artists are swinging in circles from ropes or bolts of fabric - or hoops - while creating amazing shapes or performing incredible holds.

More uptempo music denotes a faster pace to the acrobatics or some clowning around.

And there is some great clowning around with chase sequences on roller skates and a 'novice' attempting a wobbly walk along a tightrope - I'm sure it is more difficult to look bad when you are actually really good.

Pirates of the Carabina BANGOR JAN PB-88
Pirates of the Carabina Bangor Jan

There is also a funny - and sometimes wince-inducing - sequence involving a wobbly spiral staircase, our novice and an acrobat who has been 'enjoying' a drink or two of wine.

The opening and closing act - involves a square column of ladders that spins.

Using strength and agility (and sometime harnesses) the acrobats hang off it or from attached ropes so that centrifugal force makes them swing out and away from the column. 

In appearance, it reminded me a little of the old witches hat roundabouts we used to play on as kids and it looked like such great fun.

Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine is mesmerising to watch - sometimes even hypnotic as the acrobats spin in wide circles.

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Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine. Photograph by Ollie Millington

There is also skill to be admired in the performers holding the other end of the ropes, using pulleys to raise and lower the acrobats with perfect precision so that their plunges stop just short of the stage or allow for a graceful landing.

While there is no doubting the extraordinary talent and skill of Pirates of the Carabina and it is in many ways an entertaining show but it is also a show that feels more about grace than gasps and I missed those nerve-jangling, pulse-raising moments you normally get with acrobatics.

Pirates of the Carabina's RUHM is part of Circus Fest at the Roundhouse and runs until April 15. It is two hours and 10 minutes long including an interval and is family friendly.

 

 

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