CirqueLondonPhysical TheatreReview

NoFit State Circus: Bianco – Southbank Centre, London

Director: Firenza Guidi
Reviewer: Christopher Hong

Bianco by NoFit State Circus started life in 2012 and is now in its final run in the big top in the Southbank for the festive period. The energetic and upbeat opening trapeze act set against a punk rock soundtrack gets the crowd well warmed up on a cold evening. The theatrics disguise the technicality of the act perhaps a little too well and the same observation can be made about all the acts of the evening. The pursuit of jeopardy sadly goes unrewarded, yet there is much more to Bianco.

tell-us-block_editedVarious aerial acts of ropes, hoops, silk and swing are the mainstays of the show. Most scenes give the impression of controlled chaos involving multiple cast members and eventually focus on the principal cast. They are backed up by a four-piece band, whether it be a heavy thumping beat for a dynamic aerial rope routine or the gentler choral music accompanying an elegant yet powerful aerial straps display by the impressive Augusts Dakteris.

There are plenty of lighter interludes such as a cheeky ’60s diner waitress juggling act and a balancing/contortion act that comes with a neat trick or two with high heels and wine glasses. The laid back choreography adds to the sense of fun and incorporates any mistake, deliberate or otherwise, as part of the act.

As a promenade performance, while allowing the scene changes to be more involving of the audience, i.e. moving equipment out of the way, everyone is still very much confined to the outer ring around the performance area for much of the evening. The performance showcases a great deal of the mechanics of the rigging and scene changes, and the promenade element does add to the experience from a technical theatre point of view.

There is certainly a coherence to the show but it is hard to pin down the exact concept or theme. One may bemoan the relaxed style and the lack of danger while observing that the skills may not be as highly honed as other circus groups out there, although it can all be attributed to being part of the charm of the show.

The show has evolved throughout the last four years, working with different cast members and adapting individual scenes while maintaining the overall thematic vision of the production. This process certainly shows in this version with a balanced yet varied programme that is consistently entertaining while sustaining a looseness that other circus companies lack. Bianco may not set the pulse racing, but it will certainly delight with its charm.

Runs until 22 January 2017 | Image: Contributed


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