21 February 2016, Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Hong Kong
Looked back through my archives and yay, I did write a review of the last show I saw Nofit State Circus perform, Tabú!
So it’s been six years since I last saw them, and I’m still loving this company’s works. I think it’s partly because we rarely get to see good circus in Hong Kong, but mostly because they are just really good. They are skilled at creating beautiful, strong and sensual images, mixing effortless movement, sound and voice, all while showing that they are simply having a loooot of fun. And when you see that the performers are having so much fun, you can’t help but have a big smile plastered across your face too!
This time round, we had the privilege of meeting the company at the beginning of their run for a backstage tour. That actually added a lot to the experience, and you become much more appreciative of the show as someone who works in the arts, and as an audience member. The company is so welcoming, and they really live and breathe the nomadic circus lifestyle. They are UK’s oldest contemporary circus company and travel many months throughout the year. Hearing about their caravan life (each performer has their own!) was really fun, amusing and inspiring. They bring with them what they regard as important with them on the road… so for example, one artist has a whole garden in his caravan, another has a self-made collapsible caravan with a 3D printer underneath his bed which he hooks up to his van to print parts they need…
It was really great to hear that this show is constantly in revision… the Hong Kong run in fact is its third reincarnation of Bianco (originally a commission for Eden Project). It’s a reminder that as art makers and as audiences, we shouldn’t always constantly demand for the new… it’s just as meaningful (actually more) when we get to develop and hone the existing. And if I see this show again, I’m going to pay more attention to how they got inspiration from Jose Saramago’s (one of my favourite authors!) The Elephant Journey. This time round, the only thing that tied it together were the skills and colours, but that didn’t bother me at all.
Although I’ve seen so many circus shows by now, both immersive and theatre-style, they still managed to delight and surprise. I had forgotten that they use human counterweights… and they did it so beautifully! As the performer moved up and down through the air, whether it be on a hoop, on a frame or on silks, his/her counterweight would swiftly fly up and drop down on the rigging structure, also a performance in itself. The coordination between the two was so beautiful. Things I don’t see much of included the two crossed wires tightrope walker, and the guy on the three ropes (think uneven bars, but three ropes). I especially loved how throughout the show, when someone was performing in the middle space, the rest of the cast would stand on a raised platform in a line, holding torch fires, or sing beautiful notes.
They also managed to cleverly transform the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. You wouldn’t even remember that you were in a hall that was actually built for sporting games with Tom Lee plastered all over the walls and staircases. This show was amazing… wish more people came to see it. We really need to improve arts marketing in HK.