Review Bianco, No Fit State Circus, Southbank Centre by Hannah Goslin

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 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

This being my third time to Bianco over the years, it’s as if I’m visiting an old friend. I know the general basics, I’m sure they still look the same but something is different, something better if better was even possible from the previous.

No Fit State’s Bianco is a vagabond group of circus skilled professionals clambering around a moveable stage in a more traditional tent. The combination of tradition and the modern combines equally in this show – we see trapeze, silks, juggling and so on, but they’ve taken a different take on them. The group of adult children, playing with one another, the audience, dressed in mismatched almost ‘steam punk’ –esque attire, there’s a non-placed era to the production and so ages and time are not a concept; the concept is fun, play and a group to be feared but which is hard to after them being so easy to love.

There is no fear to interact with us; at one point being stared at for a good 5 minutes even for me put me on edge, but also made me laugh. They flirted with us, not just with their charming conversation, the occasional wink and playful nature, but with their tricks – when we thought it would go one was it went another to surprise us. The performances were flawless.  And let’s be honest, who does not love a circus performer?

As I have said, returning to Bianco for a third time and being over quite a few years, I saw the original, an update and now a new version. The most poignant scenes are still there, perfected as always, but there are additions, new members of the family, updates and even different music. My only sorrow was to see that in previous productions there was a father figure amongst the family of nomads who is not in the current production who gave a sense of leadership, a feeling that these homeless travellers in their strange collection of clothing and intimacy with one another were lead by this man. Now it’s very much a young man’s game, and these grown children are enjoying life, meeting the boundaries of danger and having the time of their lives – there is nothing better than seeing performers enjoying their jobs. Now we could say this is brilliant acting; their banter with each other and ourselves just creating the playful atmosphere but somehow, I do not think even Olivier himself could fake pure joy of a part.

Bianco is nothing less that phenomenal. Harping back to traditional Circus, they have paid tribute to this but adding some things new and never before seen, with each resurrection of the show they keep even us old hat fans coming back for more.

 Run away with the Circus; Run away with Bianco.


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