Described by the Evening Standard as “the show the constantly surprises”, the Roundhouse’s star attraction Fuerzabruta lived up to its praise last night (Friday) when part of the set fell onto the people below. Three members of the audience were taken to Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital with minor injuries. London Ambulance have said that they treated one person for a facial injury, one for an ankle injury and one for concussion.
Witness Steve Johns reported that “the sail which was spinning above the crowded floor on which acrobats were performing, collapsed on to technicians and members of the public below.
“People were trying to get out from underneath. Fortunately, due to the efficient security service and the calm of crowd, the worst was avoided. They have since emailed my daughter and said we will be offered reimbursement or the chance to see another show. But she said she wouldn’t go again.” Johns and another witness were interviewed about their experience by the BBC,
A spokeswoman for the Roundhouse confirmed that the Argentinean show would continue tonight (Saturday) albeit with the scene involving the incident removed. She went on to say that “a piece of moving stage equipment on which two artists were performing suffered a technical failure and fell slowly into an area where audience members were standing.
“The equipment was brought in for the production and was not part of the Roundhouse structure. The show was stopped and the performance space was cleared immediately. The Roundhouse is committed to the safety and wellbeing of its audiences and undertakes rigorous risk assessments for all of the shows that take place here.”
The Roundhouse’s entry for the show describes it as “an event where worlds collide” and that “you may get wet; you may get dirty…prepare for visual and sensory overload.”
The incident throws a shadow over the Roundhouse’s upcoming biennial five-week long Circusfest season and highlights once again the dangers involved in acrobatic shows. Last year, the death of a Cirque du Soleil high wire circus artist temporarily halted Ka, one of its Vegas productions while on Broadway numerous performer injuries plagued Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. It also calls into question once more the safety of London venues after a section of the ceiling collapsed at the Apollo Theatre during The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
The fastest-selling show in Roundhouse history returned to the venue last month for its third outing, this time a series of one hundred shows. Ticket sales have been better than the critics’ reactions to it; the Guardian’s Lyn Gardener gave it a two-star review saying that “it ultimately seems all too contrived” while international circus superstar Chrisalys called it “fruitless and uninspiring” in his exclusive review for us.
More information on Fuerzabruta can be found on the Roundhouse’s official website.
Images: Steve Johns