REVIEW – 4 x 4: Ephemeral Architectures (The Lowry, Salford)

Kate Byrne & Owen Reynolds from Gandini Juggling 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures - ©Arnaud Stephenson
Kate Byrne & Owen Reynolds from Gandini Juggling 4×4 Ephemeral Architectures – ©Arnaud Stephenson
 Date: 1 JUly 2015
Upstaged Rating: 

4 x 4 Ephemeral Architectures invites two beautiful, but integrally different, art forms to share a stage for the first time. Directed by internationally renowned juggler Sean Gandini and with choreography by Royal Ballet dancer Ludovic Ondiviela, Gandini Juggling return to The Lowry to collaborate with classical ballet dancers.

The result is truly beautiful – a simple exposed stage gives the 4 jugglers and 4 ballet dancers a chance to explore the beauty of these two very different age old practices. At times it is hard to separate the jugglers from the dancers and the fluidity is praiseworthy – a fusion of dancers extended limbs and skittles suspended mid flight.

4 x 4 is like rhythmic perfection, as pure patterns and mathematics collide – the jugglers move like dancers frequently and the dancers mimic the timing and movement of juggling with their voices, breathing and the soft pad of their feet on the bare stage. ‘Is it possible to dance when the ball is in the air?’ The jugglers and dancers trusting one another on stage – we realise that the two share similar skills – balance, timing, control and elegance.

This is a show with astounding synchronicity – as I struggle to keep my eyes on the balls, green, yellow and white; filled with mathematical complexity – flying clubs and throwing hoops to land like ruffs around the dancers. There are a few rogue clubs that hit the deck but they are hard pushed to dent this astonishing performance.

The fascinating and witty dialogue between the two respected crafts is supported by music from Camerata Alma Viva, a chamber ensemble of five (double bass, cello, viola and two violins) who perform Nimrod Borenstein’s original composition, ‘Suspended Opus 69’. Guy Hoare’s lighting design, with wonderful exposed lighting rigs, fully complements all of the movement on stage adding a further dimension to this striking cross-art amalgamation.

Running at around 60 minutes 4 x 4 is a surreal, assured and laugh-out-loud funny (my 9 year old thought so too) display of beauty and intelligence which certainly delighted the Salford audience.

-Kristy Stott


2 thoughts on “REVIEW – 4 x 4: Ephemeral Architectures (The Lowry, Salford)

    • kristobel July 4, 2015 / 9:34 am

      Thanks Kate. I was actually surprised by how taken my 9 year old was with 4×4. He chortled away at some of the humour. Loved it. Welcome to My Theatre Mates.

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