The Comedy theatre stage has become a boiler house, bathed in a slightly seedy red glow. A dishevelled, nonchalantly sexy girl sings and a saxophonist plays long slow notes. Two blond, identical men, with the sort of toned torsos that not even Barbie’s boyfriend Ken achieved, perform a series of acrobatics; their bodies intertwined with each other, their dual strength and flexibility demonstrated to the crowd along with a twinkle in their identical eyes and a cheeky grin on their identical faces. In the first night audience, Caroline Bishop wonders exactly what it is she’s been sent to see.
It is, in fact, the hit show Caesar Twins And Friends, devised and performed by Polish brothers Pierre and Pablo Caesar. The toned twosome have been swinging from rafters and balancing on each other’s heads since taking up acrobatics aged five, going on to become world youth champions at 17. Audiences at last summer’s Edinburgh Festival were treated to the Polish pair’s new show, created with the help of director Markus Pabst, and now the brothers have brought their matching physiques to London for a three-week run at the Comedy.
Though the show is essentially acrobatics – a dazzling display of what the human body can achieve when it’s not distracted by the pesky human mind’s penchant for beer, laziness and gym-o-phobia, the Caesar Twins also has elements of comedy, and the twins (though they are actually two of triplets) happily associate themselves with slapstick comedy double acts like Laurel and Hardy and others, as shown in video clips during the show. Their stunts are spectacular but a wink and a grin to the audience mid-stunt keeps the show from being too serious, though it is slightly unnerving when one twin, body upside-down in the air, face between the legs of his brother, flashes you a wide grin that suggests just a hint of craziness.
The action sequences include upside-down cycling, acrobatic kung-fu fighting modelled on a computer game, and a finale involving various extraordinary exploits in a giant fish bowl – the show is nothing if not unique. Interspersed between the acrobatics, and no doubt giving the brothers’ much-used muscles a well-earned breather, the surly songstress and her shady saxophonist provide musical interludes.
Pablo and Pierre are completely in sync with each other during the action sequences and their reliance on each other – both as brothers and as acrobatic partners – is obvious, which makes the story of Pablo’s near-death experience and recovery all the more touching. Mimed with the help of dramatic music, video clips and newspaper cuttings, the twins show the audience how Pablo, performing on the aptly-named Wheel Of Death in a German circus, fell and was left in a coma, told he would never walk again. Thankfully, he confounded the doctors to make a complete recovery, back to his usual superhuman form, allowing the brothers to go on to create this comic and crazy show.
The Caesar Twins will continue their superhuman exploits at the Comedy theatre until 11 February.