Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

At NoFit State

NoFit State Circus- ImMortal2 , The Big Tent, Waterfront, Barry , April 29, 2005
“Our lives are made of fragments. There are only fragments, like in a memory and dreams. They say that if you focus on one of these fragments, one single moment of happiness in your life, eternity fails to go by.” Firenza Guidi writer and director of Immortal2

On The Waterfront was a tough film. On the waterfront at Barry last night there were some very tough people but they were no brooding Brandos . They were celebrating not just one fragment of life but whole lifetimes of laughter and joy. Celebrating for themselves and for us with their remarkable skilful and perfectly tuned bodies. Entering the Big Tent is like going into a magician’s cave , as the show progresses magicians beckon us to follow them and introduce us to more and more ever more complex magical movements of the human body.

The Theatre in Wales, Best Production Award for 2004 winning ‘circus with a heart’ shows us that it is not content to rest on its laurels, in fact it is clearly not content to rest at all, as it moves from one breathtaking demonstration of the art of circus to another with such great élan and amazing vitality.

The magic continues with beautifully manipulated costumes falling from the dizzy heights of the top of the tent leaving a very attractive young lady to dazzle us with gravity-defying rope work. She or one of her colleagues was joined by a handsome looking daring young man and together they presented some world class trapeze work demonstrating the great trust and commitment they and every artist in this, very much together, ensemble must have in each other. The very survival of their limbs and maybe lives depends on it.

A man walked on a tight high wire, turned and hung with great delicacy in an extraordinary difficult position and for a moment held still a fragment of all our lives. The drums were banged, the company danced and celebrated and the wonderful multi-instrumented band blew away eternity.

We went swimming in hula-hoops and whist none of us in the audience would ever be able to emulate the dynamic artist who twirls at least two dozen of them around her body we were all aching to grab one and have a go. But no one seemed quite so keen to take the place of the lovely lady who has flaming knives thrown all around her.

Seas of white cloths swirl around us, they are climbed and the artists perform a moving ballet of energetic horizontal movement. A man in an ancient barber’s chair changes his shoes and eats an apple, at one point he’s upside down on the back of the chair. Another miniature balletic moment is dazzlingly performed in a large suspended wheel. A man juggles with bowler hats. Another with the conventional juggling balls but this is no conventional juggling. There is nothing conventional about Nofit State circus, its appeal is as much to lovers of serious drama as it is to lovers of superb and energetic acrobatics.

I was most ecstatically seduced by the overwhelming joy, bravery and commitment of the whole ensemble. There was a remarkable degree of exhilaration, inspired by circus founder, Ali Williams, shared by every one of the performers and an equally remarkable delight in the experience of creating a fantasy and great exhilaration together. I was stunned by strength, energy and consummate skill of the artists. My chances of survival in this world and probably in the next have most definitely been increased by my experience and involvement with Nofit State Circus. Get along and get involved. See for tour details.

Reviewed by: Miichael Kelligan

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