NoFit State Circus, Tabú

Review in Issue 20-3 | Autumn 2008

Tabú takes its inspiration from Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude – although the literary references that I would have inferred from what I saw were Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees and HG Wells’ The Time Machine.

The world of the show is one in which humanity has divided into two tribes: the clean, white, shiny, fearful, sexless, rain-soaked dwellers-in-the-clouds and the grubby, colourful, earthy, sexy, feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway swamp dwellers below.

This exploration of a binary divide that needs to be broken is of course perfect for a circus-theatre show, giving plenty of opportunities for a play between ground and air. Like previous success Immortal, Tabú is a promenade piece – although perhaps another word needs to be invented for these large-scale extravaganzas where the audience does little promenading, but is moved in herds around a constantly evolving space. But it has to be said that NoFit State are very good at this sort of thing; one of the things I love most about their shows is the way that the stewarding, rigging, and counterweight/spotting work is all done in character and integrated into the show – I’m particularly drawn to head rigger cum performer Barnz Munn, who is Swamp Man personified.

We are treated to a raft of spine-tingling performances – lots of aerial of course: we get the lot – static, swinging, flying, rope, cradle, hoop, including great work from Adie Delaney as Amaranta, ‘the girl who knows no fear’ and Natalia Fandino as Ursula, ‘the originator and eater of earth’; and there’s a lovely tightrope act from Vanina Fandino, ‘the woman who multiplies animals just by looking at them’. And live music composed by Peter Swaffer which, although veering occasionally too much towards indie rock for my taste, is played with panache by the four-piece ensemble, with a special mention of Annette Loose’s sax.

My one gripe is with the use of spoken text which I found illustrative and a little cringy. People, you don’t need it! Let the pictures tell the story…

Artforms
Presenting Artists
Site

NoFit State Tent, Victoria Park

Date Seen
  1. May 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-3
p. 34 - 35