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Saturday, April 22, 2006

NO FIT STATE: A21st Century circus

Hoola Hoops have never looked so funky

Never really been a big fan of circuses, but they have come a long way since the days of Billy Smart. I was impressed with Circus Archaos and their motorcycle stunts on top of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury back in the ‘80s and there have been a few other nutters that have blown my mind at various festivals over the years. It is through the festival circuit that No Fit State Circus first came across my radar and I have tried to catch them a couple of times but shows do tend to sell out, so I was quite pleased when I managed to get tickets for them performing ‘Immortal’ in Barry.

They don’t do the usual circus ring and a ring master with a top hat, the crowd mix in with the performers and move around the arena as the show progresses. Rather than just performing death defying stunts at random, it is more of a ‘show’ with a loose plot, in the case of Immortal it tells the story of people living in the rooftops of a city and… well to be honest I could not keep up with the plot, but there appeared to be a party, a boxing match and a wedding in there somewhere. The whole thing is tied together with a narrator and a house jazz combo tucked away to the side provides a soundtrack.

Making hanging around look easy

There are no sword swallowers, people sticking their heads in tigers mouths or clowns in exploding cars, it is 99% acrobatics/aerobatics type stuff. I have to say even when I was a kid the acrobatics stuff was what bored me most about circuses but you had to admire how clever it all was. Most of it looked quite easy to perform, but that is a testament to how good they were, they just made it LOOK easy. One guy in particular was doing stuff half way up a lamppost that was too complicated for me to even try to describe, but it was only when he paused and you could see how strong you would need to be to do what he was doing (and he had not even broken sweat), that awe started to set in.

Most importantly, the kids enjoyed it and we will probably check them out again in the future.


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