Roundhouse, London – until 18 January 2020
NoFit State’s latest circus show Lexicon starts before the start with the band larking among the audience as they arrive making a competing cacophony with various wind instruments.
Do I sound old if I say it was a bit loud and, well, annoying? It doesn’t settle down much when the show officially starts with the performers forming an unruly class of school kids, complete with old-fashioned school desks for props.
There is a lot of competing noise and activity accompanied by loud live music and it wasn’t until the show moved on to the first solo aerial act with straps that it got into a (calmer) stride. Singers accompanied the live music and it is as much about grace as it is strength and the jeopardy of being so high with no safety net.
As the Lexicon continues, it becomes evident that the emphasis is on fun and humour rather than back to back gasp-inducing moments. The school kids theme continues with the cool kids effortlessly doing the cool stunts and playing jokes on the ‘nerds’ whose acts are full of mishaps.
And it was these bits that were really funny and charming, never really quite knowing whether their wobbles, drops and mishaps were genuine or choreographed. It brought its own tension.
I particularly enjoyed the guy on the walking globe (balancing on a large ball) for his ability to look like he was never quite in control and the hapless fire juggler for similar reasons.
There was also a fantastic menagerie of unusual bicycles – different shapes and sizes, often with misfit pieces – which were ridden onto the stage at various points with accompanied by a few japes.
The atmosphere was one of unalloyed fun as they whizzed around the stage with a unicycle act featuring in various guises throughout.
NoFit State also gets bonus points for having family-friendly costumes, no skimpy outfits for the girls – or boys – which made a nice change.
Where there were moments when the audience gasped they snuck up on you and unexpected which made them all the more delightful.
The second act doesn’t quite live up to the first but while I’ve seen circus shows which have had far more of the thrill moments, the air of carefree fun and mischief of Lexicon made me laugh out loud and put a smile on my face.
Not a show to be judged by its first 10 minutes.
I’m giving Lexicon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and if you are looking for something the whole family can enjoy then this fits the bill.
It is 2 hours including an interval and is at the Roundhouse until 18 January.
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