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Theatre review: Fuerzabruta @ Roundhouse, Camden

Diqui Jamesí postmodern theatrical production, Fuerzabruta, is a 90 minute onslaught of vibrant colour, emotive performance and intense sound - with the potential to permeate the very fabric of oneís foundations.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 16th Jan 2013

No trailer or 'best of' moments selected for home viewing could ever recreate the intensity of what this performance feels like up-close. Unlike shows of a similar ilk (Cirque de Soleil immediately springs to mind) the audience is very much a part of why the show is so powerful. The yells and grunts, the sweat and the strained expressions of its performers in full motion can be seen and heard in the most intimate of fashions.

Tonight's venue is Camden’s Roundhouse, where the audience is ushered into the middle of the room, placed in position and readied for the show’s impactful introduction. Deep, powerful tribal-style grooves ensue, with performers on-stage each contributing to the earthy rumblings heard and felt, whilst overhead performers ready themselves to swoop out across the audience in a seemingly improvised melee of circus style trapeze swinging.

It’s immediately engrossing and all senses are consumed – even smell, thanks to the heat that has built up in the room. It’s at this point that ‘Fuerzabruta’s’ phenomenal crew usher the audience to part and make way for the next act in the show: a singular man, running in place, averting obstacles in his path and sometimes bursting through them with an audible and visible aggression that resonates around the room. It’s a recurring theme in the show that is at once visceral, at times disconcerting but always powerful, forcing the audience to ponder its meaning. Nonetheless, regardless of what one takes from it, it’s effective.

Themes of alienation and isolation are explored, and the imagined collision of utopian and dystopian worlds acts throughout as somewhat of a canvas for a constant theme of breaking down walls and the loss of one’s inhibitions from act to act, performer to performer, image to image - and from cast through to crew. The constant movement around the room, the shifting of props, stages, cast, and audience means that there is constant renewal of energy. It’s invigorating, exciting and feels utterly primitive.

The performers are alluring, oozing sex, power and raw animalistic energy, whilst the show itself utilises such characteristics to experiment with humanity's most fundamental emotions, conjuring feelings of loss and sadness, fear and anxiety, excitement and arousal, and joy and elation. It’s hard not to be taken up by the power of the delivery of this, and for that reason the show breezes by with audience participation encouraged throughout.

More than anything else though, ‘Fuerzabruta’ is exciting and fun, and the intensity of performances given by the cast leaves even the onlooker feeling spent. The show is well worth every penny and certainly manages to compete with its closest rivals, doing things that they don't by involving the audience in a truly unique and enthralling fashion.

Fuerzabruta, Camden Roundhouse, until January 26th

Words: Russell Cook

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