New Circus Show Bianco At The Roundhouse Is A Bit Of All-White

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 105 months ago
New Circus Show Bianco At The Roundhouse Is A Bit Of All-White

Bianco is at the Roundhouse until April 27.



'Award-winning circus company NoFit State presents the London premiere of its new show, BIANCO at London’s Roundhouse, written and directed by Firenza Guidi and produced by NoFit State's Tom Rack.

Inspired by ‘The Elephant's Journey’, the last book by Nobel-Prize winning Portuguese author Jose Saramago, the production includes all the elements associated with the UK’s premiere circus company - jaw dropping technical skill coupled with a wild, untamed elegance and subversive edge.   

BIANCO is an immersive promenade experience that takes place above, behind and all around a standing audience. With a constantly evolving narrative set to a pounding soundtrack performed by a live band, this is the kind of all consuming theatrical experience that can only happen at the Roundhouse.   

NoFit State was founded in 1986 by five friends. Twenty-five years later NoFit State still believes that the total outweighs the sum of the parts. The company lives together, works together, eats together, – travelling in trucks, trailers and caravans and living and breathing as one community. Their work combines live music, dance, stage design, text, and film with traditional circus skills. 

Today, NoFit State is the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company, producing professional touring productions and a wide variety of community, training, and education projects for people of all ages. Over the last five years the company’s  touring productions have visited 15 different countries, played to audiences of over 250,000, have been critically acclaimed and won numerous prestigious international arts awards.

Chalk Farm

By David Levene

Welcome to NoFit State Circus' Bianco, a show that will certainly keep you on your toes (and heels). It being an odd year (in the numerical sense), the Roundhouse's biennial CircusFest takes a rest until 2014. Not that the Roundhouse is steering clear of circus: this year has already seen two high-profile immersive events in January's smash hit Fuertzabruta and now NoFit Circus's Bianco.

There's no overarching theme à la Cirque du Soleil. This show is instead a collection of visual vignettes connected by the eponymous and nebulous concept of "white". Each episode generally concentrates on one aspect of circus skill for about ten minutes before moving onto another area.

There is no reserved seating, in fact no seating at all. Between the dozen or so set pieces, the audience is shunted around the Roundhouse’s central space as huge white metal frames are moved into new positions for the next act. Don’t worry too much about getting to the front: almost all of the action happens above eye level and, in some cases, directly above the audience.

The constant to-ing and fro-ing would be very annoying if not for two aspects separate from the dazzling physical feats. Watching the company combine to reorganise the environment is an eyeful in and of itself, while we can’t praise enough the band of multi-instrumentalists who provide a live audio backdrop to the evening’s proceedings, bringing forth a soundscape which crosses from the rhythms of the African plains to the prog-rock stylings of Pink Floyd.

The show struggles to build momentum in the first half, but stick with it. There is more than muscles and metal frames here and some sections have buckets of ambition and imagination. NoFit State Circus has managed to marry motion and music and concatenate many individual bursts of brilliance into a worthy though initially uneven whole.

More information on No Fit State Circus's Bianco can be found on the Roundhouse website. #Bianco2013

Londonist attended on a press ticket provided by the Roundhouse. Photo credit: David Levene

Last Updated 15 April 2013