Tag Archives: Bianco

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.


Review Bianco No Fit State Circus by Becca Hobbs

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“We should know by now that the most exact, most precise representation of the human heart is the labyrinth. And where the human heart is involved, anything is possible”
(The Elephant’s Journey, José Saramango)
Nofit State Circus is back with its newly adapted 2015 immersive promenade experience BIANCO. Entering the tent you are left to explore a huge dimly lit grunge style performance space. As the artists gabble away to each other, pushing through the crowd as if obstacles, the pre-show is choreographed chaos with silhouettes of performers, hidden by translucent sheets, warming up behind a scaffolding cage in front of you. Props and ladders are thrown around amongst muffled shouts of indistinct languages and you stand there invisible, as if you have secretly stumbled into an unidentifiable time.
Channelling Portuguese laureate José Saramango’s novel The Elelphant’s Journey, embarking on an adventure across Europe, creator and director Firenza Guidi’s BIANCO plays with concepts of geographical place and contemporary culture. With a cast from all over the world, the show incorporates elements of burlesque humour, romance and cabaret set against innovative contemporary imitations of a trip to the cinema and a balmy trampoline based scene at the seaside.
Between the tender moments of interpretative sequences in the air by the trapeze, rope and silk artists, there are dives and stunts that generate gasps from the audience as performers drop, spin and leap above and around you but the element of danger makes it all the more exhilarating. Whilst the team are incredibly safety conscious with the audience, particularly the children, the company perform without safety nets. However, their energy and confidence is infectious and within the first fifteen minutes, you begin to forget that they are in danger at all as you are so wrapped up in the visual and aural spectacle. Scene changes often become a part of the act and there is always something to overt your eye and capture your attention whist structural reshuffles are taking place.
There are a few stagnant changes but the momentum is never lost as the atmosphere is maintained by the incredible live band and diverse score. BIANCO is as much about the artistic choreography as it about the music that compliments it.
Shedding their clothes, transforming and adapting to each new structure, the chameleon like performers take on multiple roles within this huge narrative and create a visual language that demonstrates (building on the foundations of Saramango’s novel) that we are capable of surpassing our own expectations. To single out individuals feels wrong as every performer whether they are holding an instrument, strapped to a harness or doing both adds something unique.
You cannot merely watch the show, for those extensive 140 minutes you become a part of it, being allowed to enter the performers intimate world both figuratively and literally through the promenade experience. If you are willing to embrace BIANCO for what it is – there is no pandering to the audience, you are shuffled around and you stand for the duration – the danger, spectacle and unrestrained beauty will take your breath away. The technical skill and serenity is coupled with something raw but the outcome is utterly compelling. Nofit State Circus bares its soul in this pioneering production of friendship and adventure. It is clear that a NoFit family has been created and by end of show when in that moment you want to be a part of it, you find yourself left in the finale’s close standing in a snow globe with the performers watching you.
NoFit State don’t just set the bar high, they fearlessly leap over it.