The Caesar Twins And Friends, Comedy Theatre, London <!-- none onestar twostar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

The subtitle of this show should be "Don't Try This At Home". The Caesar Twins are a pair of Polish acrobats whose stunts are under no circumstances to be copied. Fancy trying a one-armed handstand on the top of your partner's head? Thought not.

Pablo and Pierre Caesar, a pair of charismatic, 25-year-old, bottle-blond identical twins from Poland, perform a series of balletic, gravity-defying stunts.

Fresh from playing in front of 9.5 million television viewers at The Royal Variety Performance, the identical siblings (you can only tell them apart because they have tattoos on different arms) are now making their West End debut. Acrobats in this country have long been saddled with a tacky, end-of-the-pier image. But, like Cirque du Soleil, this dynamic duo are attempting to lift their craft above the stratum of the terminally naff into something more resonant and artistic.

Under the guidance of the German director Markus Pabst, they have conceived a story during which they go through nine "levels" in their "quest for wholeness". Some of it veers into the seriously pretentious. I could easily live without the portentous voiceover about the Greek mythological twins, Castor and Pollux.

Much of the show, though, possesses an aching beauty. There is a stunning, highly theatrical section where Pablo - or is it Pierre? - swoops down from the rafters in a custom-built gyroscopic bungee harness. Bathed in an exquisite blue light and wearing floaty, angelic robes, he scatters white feathers across the stage to a haunting soundtrack. You'll believe a Polish blond can fly.

In another ingenious routine, the Twins call up a volunteer from the front row, and, as they woo her over dinner, switch places 10 times without her noticing. There is also a moving sequence in which the siblings re-enact the appalling accident a couple of years ago when a blindfolded Pablo fell off the wheel of death in a German circus. Initially comatose, he ended up in a wheelchair, and doctors told him he would never walk again. Under the tender tutelage of his brother, however, within six months Pablo was once again able to perform jaw-dropping stunts.

Despite their passing resemblance to Bros, the Caesars are also undeniably sexy. Stripped to the waist in tight white jeans, they remind me of that line from Sister Sledge's "He's the Greatest Dancer": "He had the kind of body that would shame Adonis."

When they frolic in a specially constructed "goldfish bowl" holding 800 litres of water, or become entwined in mid-air in various improbable positions, the Twins carry a definite sexual charge.

They have drawn on circus skills, silent movies, computer games and slapstick comedy to create an engaging, often surprisingly funny show.

To 11 February (0870 060622)

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