Knot (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: David White

Magnificent circus duet from performers Nikki and JD

There are many different kinds of love all tangled up in the threads of this duet from circus performers Nikki Rummer and JD Broussé: romantic, erotic, filial, parental, platonic, professional.

To say more than that about how the love-knots are unpicked would be to give too much of the game away. But this is a piece that will certainly challenge your perceptions of ordinary relationships and how one kind of relationship can nurture or smother another.

The show is put together in the modish dance theatre style of casual deadpan monologues – delivered close enough to the mic to hear each breath and swallow – interspersed with dance. But both performers are endearingly candid enough to stop their patter from feeling like a gimmick. They are sweet and shy as they tell us how they met. Rummer lists an increasingly aggressive shopping list of what she looks for in a man; Broussé makes mumbling excuses for standing her up on an early date. The rapport they set up makes their later petulant assertions that they can live without the other wry and charming.

And then there are their circus and dance passages. As expressions of love – trusting, soulful, bickering and sometimes declarations of open war – they are magnificently choreographed and blindingly performed, full of wisdom and wit, segueing seamlessly from expressive dance to awesome balances and drops. At one point Rummer climbs Broussé's body like a spiral staircase, ending up on his head in a display of such intensity you feel as if they must be joined at the soul. Later, when this is gender-reversed almost entirely, it is a tremendous statement of equality and strength.

Is there a word for the love an audience can feel towards two circus performers? If not, there ought to be.

Assembly Roxy, until 25 Aug (not 20), 2.45pm, £12--£14 (£11–£13).


  • 4 stars

Nikki & JD / Jacksons Lane Physically exhilarating and touchingly poignant, Knot is the internationally acclaimed circus and dance work by Nikki Rummer and JD Broussé. These talented performers use hand-to-hand circus skills to tell the tale of an impossible choice: how can we be honest with ourselves without hurting…