Fuerzabruta, the show that relaunched the Roundhouse in 2006, is back – and this exhilarating slice of physical theatre from Diqui James and Gaby Kerpel, co-founders of the Argentine company De La Guarda, seems neatly matched to the moment. Its dazzling acrobatics, wild and throbbing musical soundtrack and topsy-turvy dreamworld speak straight to the senses, making few demands on the struggling post-holiday brain.
But there is a darker undertow to the piece, with its images of human beings hurling themselves at vast billowing sails or smashing up a tiny room in which they are confined. Audience members, blearily back at work, may relate to the central image of a running man who struggles on stoically, through a hail of bullets and bad weather, fighting with furniture that slithers away from him and, most memorably, bursting through walls.
Does it all mean anything? Possibly not, though you can find your own interpretation, perhaps seeing the flailing figures as myth-like beings: the gorgeous women who frolic in a pool of real water just above your head as naiads; the couple trapped either side of a vast spinning sail as star-crossed lovers. There’s a playful quality – most evident when two women chase one another around, tumbling like autumn leaves on a glittering, gorgeously lit foil curtain. But there is also a painful yearning here, as these creatures from another world reach towards the audience’s outstretched hands.
Above all, this is a sensory experience, with the audience (who stand throughout) showered with water, glitter and tickertape. As the show plays with perspective, it allows you to gaze down on runners and up on swimmers, and encourages you to surrender to an exuberant celebration of human bravado.