Wes, Patrik and Tony begin another day of play. But where is Wes? Ah, he’s in the box… Who put him there? Did he get there by himself? I don’t think so! For today’s game, they’ve arranged his toys into a big circle. In the centre of the circle, a colourful little donkey is hanging? A donkey? Yep, a donkey.
And so it starts: three boys and their toys, having fun.
They look great: gold trousers; psychedelic shirts – a mix of tie-dye and rave. Wes’s shirt has a smiley face, and Tony’s features a starry-eyed David Bowie.
Suddenly the lights come on. From above? No, below. Yards and yards of lighting strips in brilliant red, white and blue delineate a huge circle on the floor, and one rises to the heavens where the little donkey is hanging. What’s the donkey about, we wonder.
Juggling clubs are released into the air – lots of them. Some of them fall to the ground but Patrik doesn’t care because he can’t stop; he wants to keep on playing. Tony tries to control his friend by wrapping his arms with sellotape, but Patrik is relentless and determined. He’s not stopping. He continues even when his hands are tied and he can only move his wrists.
Wes adds to the frenetic pace, his thrown clubs making crazy designs in the air. Tony decides to also tie up Wes, and to tie him to Patrik. Still they keep going… Meanwhile, the Brazilian Girls’ song Let’s Make Love booms out.
The donkey descends, the jugglers go crazy and lash out with their clubs. Finally, we understand what it is…
After the clubs come the balls: many hundreds of white balls, countless. In the air we see pictures emerge as the three play together: a waterfall, squares, hexagons, circles. We see a multi-armed Indian goddess juggling; playing with the stars.
Next, the small hoops. Once again we are presented with a myriad of shapes and designs. Then, a ‘false interval’ as they take a break for lemonade – a lovely clownish moment.
You would think that so much extraordinary juggling is enough, but our three boys don’t stop there. Using the regular children’s toys, together with a lot of sellotape, they create new hybrid toys.
The show is called Water on Mars not just because of its futuristic tone and technicolour aesthetic, but also because the company say their juggling could be done even on Mars. But they prove that Mars is not the limit – they could take their games to Jupiter, Pluto and perhaps entertain the people on the the Mir station.
The three performers, Wes Peden, Patrik Elmnert, and Tony Pezzo, (two from Sweden, and one from the USA), each with many years of experience in their field, originally created the work under the company name Plastic Boom, but the show has now been absorbed into the Gandini Juggling family; mentored by the king of theatrical juggling, Sean Gandini.
It is inventive, playful and daring – proof that a ‘pure juggling’ show can be perfect theatre.