Tabú - I Will Be Bad (4 stars)

This article is from 2010

Tabú - I Will Be Bad

Contemporary circus flying in the face of fear

Watching contemporary circus outfit Nofit State is like stepping into the pages of a living, breathing pop-up book. Before the show starts, we are ushered into the big top by a babbling 12-strong international cast of characters who look straight out of 1930s Berlin.

There are no seats with Nofit State. Instead we are corralled round new show Tabú (subtitled ‘I Will Be Bad’) promenade-style. A giant hamster wheel rolls dramatically through the crowd; static and flying trapeze artists so literally overhead we crane necks eagerly; a tightwire walker so close we almost touch the soles of her feet. Before one act ends, another emerges from the vivid melee; the crowd splitting and regrouping around the next thrilling act.

It all adds to the frisson; the bated-breath feeling that Nofit State’s edgy, dramatic circus creates. With Tabú (part three of a trilogy) the theme is ‘fear’ – director Firenza Guidi exploring the way this base emotion motivates us. It’s a narrative in the loosest sense – accompanied by a great live band and rather cringe-worthy voiced-over poetry.

But the theme is illustrated to theatrical perfection with acts such as Natalia Fandino, who teeters, trembling on static trapeze as if crippled with emotion, and Petri Ekqvist and Kadja Karjalainen, whose breathtaking duet transforms the trust of the trapeze into a deeply erotic pas de deux.

As performers swoop overhead, the fear is all ours. Expertly, they let us imagine it is we who are balancing on the tight-wire; willingly we take the plunge.

Nofit State Circus, 0844 245 6666, until 30 Aug (not 24), times vary, £16–£18 (£12–£14).


  • 4 stars

Award-winning cabaret with a 'hint of twisted exotica'.