Gandini Juggling, Downfall

Review in Issue 20-1 | Spring 2008

Sean Gandini is an unsung gem of the British arts scene, awareness of his work hardly extending beyond the contemporary circus world, but with this sell-out show at the Royal Opera House hopefully he will begin to find a wider audience. The choice of a venue more associated with dance/ alternative performance firmly contextualises the complexity and delicacy of his work as he continues to reveal the intrinsic beauty of juggling, exploring it as choreography, revelling in its patterns, and in doing so lifting it to a level of this venue’s more regular output.

Downfall is a step up in the company’s level of execution, having meticulous detail and deftness whilst still retaining the delicate warmth and gentle seriousness of previous shows. It is principally a piece of visual choreography, though permeating it is a gentle whiff of theatricality (coaxed out by John-Paul Zaccarini), creating moments of intense emotional response that somehow remain unquantifiable. These moments emerge through either simple choices of positioning, the rhythmical sound of balls bouncing or through more overt approaches: the magnificent finale built around a preprogrammed illuminated club sequence, performed to Mozart’s Symphony 25, stood closer to a son et lumiere than a ‘juggling show’.

My one hesitant thought is that the piece feels like a collection of distinct pieces: different songs in a single gig, if you like. Though, like a good gig, the whole piece entrances its audience and in this Gandini is right at the heart of what great circus can be.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-1
p. 31