Bianco stages an edgy twist on circus at the Roundhouse


Watching the performers swing lithely between the white towers of Firenza Guidi’s Bianco, one marvels at the tremendous feats the human body can perform. Loosely narrated in a cacophony of languages, around the travels undertaken in Jose Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey, the audience is invited to travel through the visceral stages of NoFit State Circus’s exploration of the heart.

The imposing towers filling the Roundhouse (which works wonderfully as a big-top) are rarely stationary, twisting and turning, dependent upon the mood of the live band raucously accompanying the troupe’s contortions upon the scaffolding. There are moments of savage, frenetic energy involving the entire crew. There is a hectic lack of symmetry and refusal to conform to muted formality – this is what makes the show work so perfectly: a dark and edgy twist upon modern conventional circus.

Also marvelous are the familial, trusting relationships that exist between the cast. They fit together as splendidly as the shifting poles in this ever-evolving set. Although entirely dependent on one another, their individuality and rugged charisma is charming. We have a muscular yet vulnerable long-haired Tarzan flying around the room, making it look so effortless that you yearn to fly there beside him. We also have a gasp-inducing, burlesque tightrope that involves the divesting of all fakery and clothes followed by an impossible version of the splits.

NoFit State prides itself on valuing the traveler way of life: uninhibited, always on the move and maintaining a rough-and-ready community. Importantly, the company work symbiotically as (be warned!) they leap above, behind and all around. The standing audience becomes part of this living organism and you are sure to encounter hair-raising moments as you are physically manipulated around the room by these wild architects of fun.

There are moments of tranquil beauty intermixed with delightful chaos. Women glide above the audience in heavenly prisms of swirling fronds of glitter, and a picturesque rope dancer is elevated to the ceiling in a floor length white gown while scarlet rose petals cascade around her. The impact is stunning.


Nothing is more spectacular than the finale: the entire crowd is bathed in confetti as Sage Cushman writhes like a tangled snowflake above. As the show ends the troupe drag you into the centre and engage you in crazed dancing as whirlwinds of snow descend around you: Bianco indeed.

Our Rating: ****

Anne x