• Downfall Gandini Juggling


A percussive, emotional and ghostly series of images about the absurdity of throwing and catching
After several seasons starring in the world's great circuses and international variety shows, Sean Gandini's brilliant ensemble returns to its theatrical roots with this brand new show. Percussive, emotional and ghostly, Downfall unfolds as a series of images about the absurdity of throwing and catching which culminates in a joyous celebration of life. It features the Gandini's unique trademark of intricate, seamlessly interwoven juggling, creating a fairground of flying objects and a world of dazzling colour.

Downfall was the first of Gandini Juggling’s works to be performed at the Royal Opera House, in the Clore Studio, as part of the London International Mime Festival. Artistically, Downfall is arguably one of Gandini Juggling’s most important works, with the company achieving a rich synthesis of various different ideas that they had explored across the range of their output up to that time. Most notably, Downfall deftly merged the company’s precise and rhythmically rich choreography with strikingly dramatic moments, foregrounding the myriad pleasures to be found in both spectacular object choreography and hauntingly sparse patterns. There was also a fine attention to the deployment of humour and humanity amongst the mathematically detailed patterns, with the performers’ personas foregrounded at specific points in each section. Finally, the company’s ongoing experiments with the possible relationships between glow objects and music reached a rich crescendo in the final dazzling display of light and music which closed the show.

Downfall followed the company’s, by now, established method of construction in that it combined existing material and new experiments, whilst developing the work within the context of a thematic idea. In this instance, the work was a collection of sequences that shared a concern with the rhythms of juggling and that were often constructed in response to specific musical scores. These were all framed within the simple visual theme of ‘moving out of darkness’. In effect, this led to a work where the juggling patterns became increasingly complex and the degree of light increased as the show progressed while, at the same time, the colour palette moved from black and white to colour.

(orginal text from Juggling Trajectories, Gandini Juggling 1991 – 2015 by Thomas J M Wilson - link to shop)


"The whole piece entrances its audience and in this Gandini is right at the heart of what great circus can be." Total Theatre Magazine

"Downfall has a hypnotising power; it can suggest very poetic images and a strange dark humnour that plays with opression, authority and the absurd. Its dramaturgy reveals moments of intimacy and collectiveness, conveyed by the constant relationship of the performers witht he objects." Kaskade Magazine


Director: JP Zaccarini
Lighting Designer: Jean-Ba Laude
Artistic Advisor: Rose English
Music by: Various
Performers: Iñaki Fernández Sastre Sean Gandini Frederike Gerstner Owen Reynolds Kati Ylä-Hokkala