Edinburgh Fringe: Bianco at Fountainbridge Brewery
Bianco is a large-scale circus show from Welsh circus troupe, No Fit State Circus that’s immersive, moving, elegant and bountiful. There’s definitely something to be said for scale in theatre, and No Fit State absolutely deliver it in this breathtaking, beautiful experience of unadulterated joy. The performers are skilled and dedicated professionals who eat, breathe, and sleep circus as they travel across the UK touring their shows to all corners of Britain. Contemporary and edgy, Bianco is an exciting, complex, and lovely experience.
With a huge cast of characters slipping in and out of character as easily as fish leaping in and out of water, this is a transparent piece of theatre – naked circus, if you like. The performers dress before our eyes, do their stretches and build the sets while we get drinks and chat before the show. Nothing is unnecessary, no one out of place as trusses are moved into position and the show begins. People act as living counterweights sliding up and down vast king poles, the staunch trusses that hold up the tent and form the structure of the whole show. A talented band plays live, reminiscent of Beirut, as acrobats swoop, aerialists twirl, and balancing acts sway.
All is colour and light and movement and grace. Piece after piece of astonishing physicality plays out before our eyes: trapeze artists, fire-eaters, gymnasts. A tightrope walker crosses the space wearing a pair of wicked red heels, changing her entire outfit as she balances precariously in mid air. Stewards and performers move the audience around the space (there are no seats) as the sets are reconfigured, the action taking in almost every square metre of the massive big-top we are all in.
This is a smashing show. Text and voice are interwoven with dance and acrobatic feats of astounding difficulty. All the utilitarian functions are played out in full view by the cast themselves, and everything is done with such style and grace that, rather than distract from the magic of the show, this transparency adds to it. The unconventional audience configuration ensures that, if we have a bad seat now, we need only wait a few moments and we’ll be front and centre. Go and see Bianco if you can – this is a treat for the senses.
Photos: Richard Davenport