Friday, 2 December 2016

Bianco: Here Be Dragons

Bianco: Here Be Dragons
Nofit State Circus and Firenzi Guidi

Walking In The Air

Bianco is a human circus of aerial acrobatics that grew out of the 2012 Eden Project. Its Big Top has now landed at the Southbank Centre's Winter Festival with its unique cluster of solo and group performances.

We must admit this was the first outing to a circus act since TLT cried in terror when a clown offered her a giant comb many years ago or maybe we can count the Harrogate inland end-of-the-pier show around the same time with acrobats tumbling into a swimming pool in between turns by comedians.  

But back to Bianco. It's strenuous and spirited and bills itself as an immersive, promenade spectacle designed by Saz Moir with Adam Cobbley on lighting.

So it's standing room only to watch this group of 17 travelling players, along with a certain amount of corralling around the mobile towering scaffolding by good natured roadies who occasionally engage in a friendly word. Punters can wander off to the bar but once the show  begins, most, if not all, stayed, drink in hand, to watch.

At times, narrative strands seem to be winding themselves into a story, only to be disrupted by a new scene with other performers at its centre. In truth, there's little story - only a reflection of the performers' lifestyle as a modern vagabond group.

There's certainly plenty to watch. Hoopwork reminded TLT and her own automotive flying machine of Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Meanwhile there's aerial acrobatics, tightrope walking, juggling, fire-eating, trampolining and contortionism with a variety of props.

That swimming pool tumbling act TLT saw as a youngster in Harrogate was extended and aerialized (is there such a word?) but still with the Edwardian-style swimming costumes and sense of fun.

Live music is provided by a five-piece band headed by Dave Murray with original material. Our main gripe is that it felt over long, especially without a progressive narrative thread.

Bianco's Here Be Dragons feels still very much a work-in-progress but that's often more a virtue than a criticism, as there's an endearing studiousness combined with a joie-de-vivre. It's an amber/green light for   a democracy of performers and performances capped by a breathtaking finale of spectacular winter wonderland beauty. 

And, in a break from tradition, going along with the spirit of the show, here's a list of the performers:
Augusts Dakteris, Blaze Tarsha, Cecilia Zucchetti, Delia Ceruti, Edd Casey, Ella Rose, Felipe Nardiello, Francois Bouvier, Jani Földi, Jess O'Connor, Junior Barbosa, Lee Tinion, Lyndall Merry, Topher Dagg, Danilo de Campos Pacheco, Enni Lymi, Joachim Aussibal

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