Duel Reality is circus theatre brought to you by The 7 Fingers. What sets it apart from traditional circus is the company’s mesmerising use of big emotions to tell the basics of a story. In this case, we have the recognisable beats of Romeo and Juliet, which turned out to be an excellent choice.
Genius... I absolutely loved watching this
This was a real treat for me, and I highly recommend you catch this before it’s too late. The soundtrack is exhilarating, the performers are charismatic and the stunts had my hands rushing to cover my mouth every minute or so. I couldn’t be sure whose palms were more sore by the end – the performers’, or mine after all that furious clapping.
Upon entering, the audience is given a coloured fabric bracelet, blue or red, and told to sit on one side or the other with the rest of the blues or reds. And I don’t want to spoil the genius way the show begins, but I will tell you to expect the unexpected… and to remain calm.
When a ‘fight’ breaks out between the blues (the Capulets, I presume) and the reds (the Montagues) it quickly escalates into a refereed contest of bravado, seeing who chickens out first in a series of death-defying acts. This is interspersed with quotes from the original text, spoken by each performer into handheld mics, in the style of pro wrestlers riling up their side of the crowd, or getting us to boo the rival team. Great fun!
It holds all the electricity of a big sporting match where the passions run high, and eventually, pair of lovers emerge from the ‘two households’, reaching for each other but being held back in clever circus fashion. Our Romeo and Juliet fight to be together in beautiful acrobatics and dance, producing some gorgeous images in seemingly impossible positions.
There is a huge variety of circus acts, all cleverly framed to give the impression of a city brawl, a masquerade party, incarceration and a duel between two longstanding foes that, of course, ‘goes too far’.
I absolutely loved watching this. If only there was a recording of my reactions which, I think, would make anyone rush to see it. Be warned if you are sitting in the front row, however, as I definitely saw at least two audience members get bumped by wayward hula hoops.