Bianco (5 stars)

This article is from 2013


Recklessly beautiful runaway magic

NoFit State Circus is by its own admission ‘turning savage’ in this big top spectacular, directed by Firenza Guidi aided by a team of designers. Anarchy is the order of the day; live music capers brassily up and down, performers gabble away to each other words we can't hear in languages we can't understand. Acrobats yank back and forth clinging to lampshades, hoops and beaded boxes; trapeze artists spin recklessly mid-air. Meanwhile down below the metal set takes a hammering in prison-style riots and trampoline chaos, as we are invited to walk, stand, sit on the ground, and indulge in the beauty and the lawlessness around us.

A renegade punkish vibe pulses a wild heartbeat through Bianco from start to finish. The acrobats swing hard and fly fast. Even August Dakteris' soulful fire-lit turn on aerial straps and Lyndall Merry and Freya Watson's intimate tangle on doubles trapeze have a devil-may-care edge of abandon that is pure pleasure to behold. This is made even more fitting after reading that Dakteris ran away with the company in 2009, joining as a volunteer midway through a tour, and is now undoubtedly one of its brightest stars.

The magic NoFit State creates when it parks up its big top and caravans is unique, preserving the lifestyle, essence and ethos of European circus, but at the same time redefining it artistically for a contemporary audience. If there's one circus everyone will want to run away with come September, it's this one.

NoFit State Big Top, 0333 222 9000, until 26 Aug (not 13, 20), 8pm (matinees 14, 17, 21, 24, 2.30pm), £18 (£16).


Contemporary circus featuring 16 performers and a live band.