Theatre in Wales

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ImMortal2

No Fit State Circus , Big Top @ Out of the Blue Tramworks, Ediinburgh , August-16-05
Welcome to the slaughterhouse, a place where you lose your innocence, a place between life and death, memory and amnesia. Don't worry, there's no blood, but there may well be confusion as you jostle among the crowds to catch a glimpse of a man unfolding down a rope, watch bathing beauties swim through the air with skeins of sheet rippling around them like water, and see the hoopla lady turn into a living, breathing, spinning top.

No Fit State Circus's show is an eccentric astonishment, an artfully controlled chaos, a miraculous use of space, a gaudy painted butterfly that takes flight and dies. This is not a show for the very young and, to be honest, you'll probably see more skilful, death-defying feats in other circuses.

But skill is not the point here. It is the presentation that so thrills as the company create a crazily chaotic world that is like every memory ever stored in your head all recalled at the same time.

There are times when it risks becoming too busy: a jumble of film, music, time, words, tumbling limbs, fire, tickling and giggling, light and dark, beach balls batted among the crowd. But just when it threatens to overwhelm it offers stillness: two lovers on a rope holding on for dear life; a proffered red apple; the whole company walking slowly into the dazzling light of oblivion. There are images to turn your bones to both silk and dust.

This is Cirque du Soleil without the Disney and the disinfectant. It is the narrative-driven, total theatre experience that British circus has been striving for so long to achieve. Welcome to the slaughterhouse. Welcome to the future.

Until August 29. Box office: 0870 126 1771

Reviewed by: Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

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