Review by Amy Brown.
Saturday night of the Out There Festival ended on a high thanks to a dazzlingly dynamic and captivating performance from the talented NoFit State Circus. This was a circus like no other, a beautiful chaos of enigmatic music, alluring drama and thrilling, daredevil stunts which had the spectators captivated.
Huddled under umbrellas and blankets, crowds of people waited patiently for the circus to begin. The simple fact that so many were prepared to brave the rain to watch the performance speaks volumes, the expectations for the show appeared to be sky high. Between the music, fading daylight and elaborate stage set up, the atmosphere was tingling with anticipation and curiosity. This was re-enforced when people clad in tattered black cloaks and hats began to weave their way through the assembled group. The intrigue they created was sustained throughout the first act, where the performers began to climb and appeared to be searching for something. We were instantly drawn in, wanting to know what was going on. Then the skull-splitting siren sounded and the scene exploded into a boiling mass of activity. Everywhere there was dancing, shouting and acrobatics, it was impossible to fix your sight on any one place. Each corner was rife with activity, making it a feast for the eyes from all angles. If mistakes were made, the energy of the piece covered them up perfectly. The audience were awed, pointing and whispering with enthusiasm and snapping photos in an attempt to capture the moment.
The performers themselves were fantastic, even when things did go wrong. When a girl twirling hula hoops missed one which was thrown to her, she never faltered, just carried on amid supportive cheers from the audience. It felt as if connection had been made between the viewers and the performers, we were as much involved in what was going on as they were. The actors just sucked us into the story, like we had entered another world. Live music provided a wonderful backdrop for all of this action, with the mood of it changing to compliment the performers and successfully and cleverly giving the piece a variety of tones which were ever changing. It was impossible to lose interest, for as soon as you began to everything would alter and draw you back in again. From the hyper frenzy at the beginning to a calm, piano accompanied acrobat swinging gracefully from a ladder, to dramatic dances with rings of fire. It was laced with excitement, no-one could guess what would happen next but it was always a delight. Alongside all of this, there was of course, a story. The repeated, contrasting lines ’It’s fine’ and ’It’s not fine’ teamed with the regularly sounding siren gave the piece a structure, and a message. The characters were desperate and rebellious, in a world where they were made to believe that everything indeed was ’fine’. They were brave and chose to fight when they realised something was wrong, creating an engaging plot with a beginning, a middle and an end which was suitable for all ages. While the story was stimulating for the adults, younger members of the audience were able to enjoy the visuals alone.
The performance ended with a shower of white confetti and just as much energy as it began with, keeping us hooked until the very last second. The bright blue and red lights caught the fluttering white paper, giving the final scene something of a magical quality. The fireworks rounded off the whole show wonderfully, their glittering display taking over the night sky and breaking the spell the performers had carefully woven around us. Barricade was a success. It contained everything a circus should have, and a whole lot more besides.
Review by Anna Wade
Once the crowds had been entertained by Fest Noz, attention turned to the No Fit State Circus Company who had joined the fun at the Sea Life Gardens on Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth for their new show ‘Barricade’
So, stage set, clouds holding back the rain, the bated breath of the audience, the anticipation of what was about to unfold. The circus act begins as actors mingled through the spectators, the spotlight giving the chosen few their moment of fame as they became the focus of the moment.
Added to the visual delight, the band begins to play, we bob along to the beat, the tone changes as the dramatic music is drowned out by an air raid siren, the tempo quickens, on stage the wind is blowing, tyres are being used to create a ‘barricade’, the panic begins !
Next, the stage becomes a platform for a human bouncing tyre tunnel, at the same time our eyes are diverted to the acrobats being flung out into the crowd from their aerial rigging.
Not knowing where to look next, eyes are darting around, whilst all the time the music and pace are building. Fear knows no bounds as we are treated to somersaults, back flips and even a human hula dazzling us as the silver hoops spin around this extremely skilled actress
More gasps by the crowd as artists climb aerial ladders, then the pace drops and a lone acrobat adorns the stage to do his thing. The finale returns to the original mantra of the act, “everything is ok”, a frenzy of fire, smoke and tyres set the back drop to a sombre tone as flares light the temporary seafront arena, eyes once again darting here, there and everywhere as yet more talent is displayed with an array of back flipping and stage boxing
No one can doubt the artistic quality of this moving circus act and the unusual plot that leaves the imagination of the crowd to run wild as each audience member ponders the events before them and each takes away their own memories of the event
Sarah James, Executive Director of SeaChange Arts said "Despite rainy showers on Saturday, Out There has been an overwhelming success with very positive feedback from artists, performers, audience members and stakeholders. More than 68 performances were on over the 2 days with crowds of over 60,000 attending the weekend. Workshops were continuously busy over the weekend and 3,000 people alone attended the Barricade show by No Fit State Circus on the Saturday night. Over 30 volunteers helped the staff team deliver the festival including a volunteer team made up from Great Yarmouth Borough Council Employees who undertook face to face interviews with members of the public about their experiences of Out There."