NoFit State Circus: Bianco

Theatre , Circuses Southbank Centre , South Bank Tuesday December 6 2016 - Sunday January 22 2017
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 (© Tristram Kenton)
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© Tristram Kenton
 (© Tristram Kenton)
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© Tristram Kenton

Grungy Welsh circus wizards NoFit State Circus bring back an upgraded version of their 2013 show

In the program notes to this returning, revamped collaboration between NoFit State circus and Italian director Firenza Guidi, there’s lot of deep and meaningful talk about ‘a journey through time’ and ‘the story of the fragility of our lost selves’. 

That’s all guff really, because ‘Bianco’ is an out-and-out, oohs-and-aahs circus show that pushes all the right spectacular buttons, with no cheesy themes or narrative needed.

The show itself is refreshingly stripped-back, with little of the pomp and bombast – clowns, ringleaders, cheap slapstick comedy – that you might normally expect from a family-friendly circus show. ‘Bianco’ shuns narrative and, apart from a small intro advising ‘Here be Dragons’ and ‘no photography please’, there is no spoken content. 

Instead, the performances speak for themselves in a succession of increasingly impressive, classic circus tricks, from juggling and tightrope-walking to breathtaking acrobatics and trapeze stunts.

Soundtracked by an excellent live band, ‘Bianco’ opens in a fit of orchestrated chaos: stray juggling pins here, a wobbly tightrope walker there. But that rawness is endearing; it makes watching people do really difficult, knackering tricks all the more impressive.

The second half delivers a more crafted drama, culminating in a superb duo rope performance using only body weight and gravity, the finale crowned by a snowstorm, a nod to Bianco’s festive context. The energy of the endearingly shambolic opening, however, is what Bianco does best. Just don’t stand too near the jugglers. 

Venue name: Southbank Centre
Contact:
Address: Belvedere Rd
London
SE1 8XX
Opening hours: 10am-11pm Mon-Sun
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
Price: £25-£39.50
Event phone: 0844 482 8008
Event website: http://www.roundhouse.org.uk

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Audwin C

Bianco was definitely different to any other circus ive ever been to. There are no seats and the show ran for about 2.5hours including 20min intermission, so anyone with difficulties  standing for long periods of time might want to reconsider.   The show happens around you and every 15mins or so you are shuffled to the side or out of the way to make room for the acts. The novelty was fun at the start but then after the 5th time it felt like being stuck on the central line tube during peak hour being herded around like cattle. 


Ive been to probably over 2 dozen circuses in my time and have almost seen it all, from large scale cirque de soleils to family run small performances in the local park. In terms of overall skill and technical difficulty of the moves being performed, this is where the show fails to impress.  


Many times I was watching in anticipation for something impressive to happen, but it never came. It felt like a whole lot of nothingness and watching someone do conditioning exercises on loop. Entry level juggling, lyra,trapeze,silks, rope and handstands.  Anyone who has ever been to a few decent shows or has a background in gymnastics or acrobatics will definitely find the moves being performed painfully basic and within the reach of most weekend gymnasts / fitness enthusiasts. Perhaps the only act that kept my attention was the tight rope walk, but even still that dragged on for a little too long with the performer running repetitive motions over and over. 


In a nutshell, i felt that Bianco was all show no go. If circus is brand new to you and youve never been exposed to any form of acrobatics or gymnastics then you might find it fantastic.


However if you know a thing or two about cirque and are expecting to be amazed by pure talent, strength or skill then give this one a miss and go see Cirque Eloize ID next time its in town.


Real shame though because it had so much potential, the visuals were stunning, the soundtrack  and live band did make things feel very immersive.. If only they hired more advanced acrobats to perform higher difficulty tricks, this wouldve been a real winner.