“How do you like them apples?!”
Originally this was just going to be a note at the bottom of the Danton’s Death review as I saw this before going into the Olivier, but it was just so darned good that I decided to give it a review all of its own as there’s a few more shows over the weekend that you can go and catch, especially since it is totally free.
Smashed! is a new show put together by the Gandini Juggling collective especially for the Watch This Space festival and I honestly cannot recommend it enough. There are no words to describe how beautiful the sight of 9 people juggling a whole load of apples can be, but I’m going to try. It actually had the air of a dance piece, indeed the opening sequence was heavily reminiscent of Pina Bausch’s Kontakthof, with its promenading and knowing looks on the faces of the performers. The intricacy of the routines, often involving several jugglers swopping balls was often breathtaking, the synchronisation a visual treat and the different ways in which the performers interacted was always intriguing.
My favourite sequence was probably the one which started with the two female jugglers dancing to ‘The End of the World’ whilst juggling and then having to maintain their performance whilst the other eight men pestered them, stole their apples and then replaced them at random times forcing some great tricks out of the women. It was an unexpected place to see an affecting portrayal of typical behaviour but all the more effective for it.
Elsewhere, there was tons of amazing ball (or apple) skills on display, ranging from the jaw-dropping, the flick of four apples off one guy’s forearm, one each into the hands of the four people along from him (more impressive than it sounds, honest!) to the highly comic, the taking of a bite from each apple as it flew into the air with increasing rapidity. The introduction of some crockery to the stage made it clear where the title of the show fitted into the whole shebang with a most satisfying, smashing good time ending the show.