nofit state circus

Bianco: Perth Festival Review

Bianco, NoFit State Circus, Directed by Firenza Guidi, Ozone Reserve, East Perth, Until March 1.

FOUR STARS

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NoFit State Circus, Bianco. Photo: Toni Wilkinson

Audiences expect more from contemporary circus than pure spectacle and NoFit State Circus, founded in the UK in 1986, delivers in spades. In Bianco, the big top becomes a moveable feast, with the performers adjusting mobile scaffolding to create different sets and apparatus, and the audience corralled around the tent to accommodate the action.

This device really draws you in to the event, as does the live music, which together with Firenza Guidi’s inventive direction, gives Bianco a more theatrical ambit than most circus aspires to and delivers a context for the athleticism and grace of the performances that can really pack an emotional punch.

A double trapeze routine becomes a sensual song of heartbreak and consolation. A muscular sequence on aerial straps soars and dives into the flames of memory. Strenuous acrobalance is a vehicle for a clownish take on obsession with appearance.  Trampolining acts recall the freedoms of youth, and graceful juggling stands as a metaphor for the transience of the present.

There are some terrifically innovative visual surprises and almost every circus discipline works its way into the show. The ensemble demonstrates a level of skill, trust and enjoyment in performance that it’s impossible not to wonder at.

Only one moment in the evening – a full company free-for-all over the mountainous set – looked a bit unchoreographed and didn’t justify itself dramatically. Otherwise, it’s a solid two hours of superior circus that will dazzle and delight.

(Hot tip: Full-time student tix are a steal at a mere $25. Just sayin’.)