Credit: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

NoFit State Circus - Bianco

What you are watching is not an illusion just sheer talent and skill.

Venue: NoFit State Big Top (Venue 194)
This is a truly magical circus act, which blends moments of simple, breathtaking skill with sections of controlled lunacy redolent of cartoon clown acts - the crazy, fire and trampoline bearing Disney creations from Dumbo jump manically to mind. Ridiculously low bikes beep around the space, the acrobats tumble in old fashioned swimming costumes and crazy props are thrown about.

However it is the moments without the crazed mess of a circus, which are most effective and make the greatest impression. There is a juggling act in which the balls move with unreal fluidity like extensions of the juggler's graceful limbs; it seems utterly effortless. A tightrope walker wows as he walks, flips and strips himself back to his boxers all while balancing perfectly on a suspended rope. Another man swings, Tarzan like, through the sky, performing incredible balances and stretches holding on with just one arm. The show climaxes with a awe-inspiring performance from a female trapeze artist as snow falls from the ceiling, it is visually beautiful and she moves her body with inhuman grace and flexibility.

The show also has an element of emersion, the circus takes place around and above you and you are encouraged to walk through the space (there are no seats) discovering each section from whichever vantage point suits you. The workings of the circus are also on show as the stage is moved and recreated, the acrobats clipped and unclipped and pulleys hoisted in front of your eyes. Everything here is on show giving the act a greater power: what you are watching is not an illusion just sheer talent and skill.

No one can criticise the power, strength and flexibility of these artists but some of the narrative moments are less effective: the performance as a whole seems to sit uncomfortably between a simple demonstration of the artists' talents and a half-hearted attempt to create a narrative. There are elements of voice over some in English, some in foreign languages which seem disconnected and add little to the acts. The interval also disrupts the show as it is placed not at a natural break.

Two hours has rarely passed more quickly. Bianco will have your heart swooping and soaring along with its incredibly talented acrobats as they sweep fearlessly through the air above you. The only problem with this show is coming away feeling totally inadequate about yourself: after two hours of standing and watching inhuman strength and endurance my legs are embarrassingly sore. A beautiful performance.

By Laura Jeffrey

NoFit State Big Top (Venue 194)
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