March 10, 2015
In preparation for our circus month this month, we headed down to Jackson’s Lane in January to see NoFit State’s latest show, Noodles. We went to the opening night, which proved to be a popular affair as the theatre was completely sold out! NoFit State is a contemporary circus troupe, who has been credited as leading the renaissance of contemporary circus in the UK. Although based in Cardiff, they have successfully toured the UK and internationally, cementing their aim to be, "the circus that everyone wants to join."
Noodles is a show of chaos where the wires and ropes of the aerial artists are the main focus. It includes magic, aerial artists, hand-balancers, wire walkers and contortionists. With this in mind we were hopeful for a good performance and were not disappointed. Before the circus started, we could see from the set how the name of the show was to be incorporated; hanging from the ceiling were long ropes and as the evening began, these ‘noodles’ became an increasing focal point with bits of yarn being flung everywhere in order to cover the floor as the performers shouted, “Noodles!”. It was all faintly surreal - at certain points the cast even pretended to gorge themselves on this ‘food’ as a grotesque sound played over the speakers. If this is what modern circus is then we are certainly on board as it's definitely original!Photographs by Sean Purser
The aerial sketches within the show were excellent - a highlight was undoubtedly a combination of solo and group performances where the performers interacted with each other whilst on the ropes. Along with this, there were scenes of contortion and hand-balancing by the all-female performers, which demonstrated great skill and ability. What really helped to move the show forward however, were the comical sections where a magician - the only male performer in the show - did a series of tricks, some quite straightforward and others more complex, whilst acting the part of the ‘clown’. Added to this, a blossoming love story was allowed to develop between him and one of the performers, which allowed for a sense of immersion and one could really feel the audience rooting for the romance to progress.
All of Noodles is enjoyable but the ending will leave you with your jaw agape! An incredibly impressive tightrope walking display - observed by the rest of the cast from below - concludes with a fall from the rope and the lights abruptly cutting out-- A truly dramatic and gasp-inducing ending! Thankfully (as far as we could tell), this was entirely planned and the entire cast lived to see another day!
We thoroughly enjoyed this extremely well-produced show and it certainly set the bar high for circus month!
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By Laura Copeman