Each show I see never fails to surprise not impress. This offering of the art of expression at the Lowry’s Quays Theatre just enhances the beauty of live theatre.

‘4 x 4’ is the ingenious collaboration of 4 jugglers and 4 ballet dancers sharing a stage for the first time in a celebration of where these paths meet exploring not just what juggling is, but what juggling can be.

Formed in 1992 by world-renowned jugglers Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Bokkala, who also star in the show alongside two other jugglers and four talented dancers, Gandini juggling “continues to be at the vanguard of contemporary circus, reinventing and reinvigorating juggling for the 21st century.”

With stunning yet challenging choreography by Royal Ballet dancer Ludovic Ondiviela, set to an original composition of ‘Suspended opus 69’ by Nimrod Borenstein performed live by the exceptional young chamber ensemble Camerata Alma Viva, your eyes are fixated on every aspect of the show, and there are a few. With lighting design by Guy Hoare, it is evident that both of these art forms demand discipline and focus and the performers make it look easy whilst also helping the audience to understand how difficult it is. With the odd dropped club, not long into this hour long spectacle, I personally respect and admire each person on stage for coping under the heat of the lights, the risks of distraction from colleagues and the pressure to put on an entertaining show, which they succeeded to do.

With humour provided by the occasional mini-scene and dance routine, their own language seemed to be made up of technical expressions and possibly thoughts that go whirring round the performers’ heads whilst they perform, making it even more admirable of the way they perform to synchronisation, with their voices and the sounds from the balls hitting their hands giving a relaxing feeling in the silence of which not even a pin drop can be heard. The string accompaniments are well-suited to the sophisticated but fun style of show.

With elements of science and mathematics, this show can be enjoyed by anyone who has an eagerness to learn and admire those who train to be the best in their skillset.

With various shows on the go, it is no wonder this company in demand. Their busy schedule can be viewed HERE.

If you are attending Wimbledon and are unsure what to do with the left over tennis balls, have a go at this!

Reviewer: Chris Oatway

Reviewed: 1st July 2015