Saturday, 24 May 2014

Chapter 9: NoFit State to Entertain

This morning I was up at 6.30am, thanks to The Escape Artist (aged 2) surveying the carnage left over from entertaining friends the night before. I'm in no fit state to tackle this, I thought. NoFit State,  ha!, that's a good one. And then I think of a pair of black hot-pants sitting in my drawer upstairs, with that legend emblazoned on the back in neon pink and white, and smile. I bought the shorts at the Roundhouse last year when seeing the NoFit State circus company perform there, and wore them regularly thereafter in pole class. Little things amuse me. 

NoFit State's show Bianco is inspired by Jose Saramago's novel The Elephant's Journey, the story of the extraordinary wedding present of an elephant from the King of Portugal to the Archduke of Austria in the Sixteenth Century. A show of breathtaking skill, more gritty and monochrome than a polished Cirque de Soleil performance in glorious technicolour. You follow the performers round, similar to Fuerzabruta, rather than being seated. So close you can see the bruises and the scars that bear witness to how much blood and sweat goes into these routines. Raw, physical theatre.

For me one of the most enchanting moments was watching the juggler who gave the most dazzling performance while reciting what sounded like poetry, and was most probably an excerpt from Saramago's novel in its original Portuguese. And I just loved the tightrope walker in her red high heels, carrying a parasol, who was so hot she seemed to drawl across the wire, as though she had just stepped out of a Tennessee Williams play.

The band accompanying the show was superb - I would love to know who they are.  The band's lead singer had a touch of Paolo Nutini about him, which is funny as I'm back at the Roundhouse next week to see the real deal in action.

The daydreaming prompts me to follow the company on Twitter. I notice that the company, based in Cardiff, has tweeted a link to a two minute news video. ITVWales feature on NoFit State. I click on it expecting it to be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Bianco show, about to go on tour this summer. That was touched on, but the focus is on how Mel, who really is in NoFit State with a broken back, astonishes. It is uplifting, inspiring and ties in to the theme of a bird with a broken wing inspired by the show She Would Walk The Sky, seen recently at the Roundhouse, which I am exploring in a future post.  (update - cf. Chapter 16: Bird with a Broken Wing)

Meanwhile it's gone midnight and I'm crashing now. Packing for a trip to Paris with my daughter in the morning, going to see a man about a harp. But that's another story. And maybe another page for the blog.

Postscript:  My daughter The Acrobat (turning 6) and I arrived in Paris to find France celebrating Mother's Day.  Maybe that's why when we arrived at the hotel to find a problem with our room (the cheapest), they upgraded us to their Penthouse Suite for the night. We may have been in NoFit State for such grandeur, but Saramago's Archduke certainly would have felt at home. All the more so since we shared the room with the little fellow pictured below. Sommersaults on the bed, handstands against the walls, and suite dreams. 


  1. Hey Lucy, just found your blog and enjoying a read :) The Bianco band last year were Fireproof Giant (different team this year, and haven't seen it yet, but looking forward to seeing what's shifted!)

    1. Hi Kate, thank you so much for feedback and heads up - thought Fireproof Giant were a brilliant band and will look them up now. When/where are you going to see NoFit State this year? The Fringe? Looking forward to reading about it in


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