"A little further afield from the main bustle of the Edinburgh Festival, The Big Top circus opened its doors to the Welsh Circus and Physical Theatre company, Nofitstat.
Upon arrival my preconceptions about circuses were thrown out - neither a cheesy ringmaster nor a lycra leotard to be seen - this was contemporary circus as I had never witnessed before.
The way in which the audience was moved by Tabu, promenade-style, around the tent throughout the two hour (mainly aerial) performance, enabled them to become more involved, even integral to the show.
The performers interacted with the audience between scenes, laughing and joking with one another. The musical genres changed in line throughout, courtesy of the live band, who switched effortlessly from french cafe-style jazz through samba inspired beats to more modern trip hop.
Each of these aspects of the show was carefully constructed with the aim of consistent stimulation. However, costumes and backdrop, although impressive, were understated, gritty and somewhat raw. The set was also simple consisting of rigging, scaffolding and video screens.
Talent seemed to be in an abundance as they took every traditional circus discipline and multiplied it. Instead of standard aerial hoop, the performer hung from a column of five hoops, instead of a single German wheel, two German wheels rolled across the floor with three people in each. Tightrope walking was made all the more impressive as the performer made her way across the tightrope wearing high heels, eating a bowl of spaghetti while rolling a cigarette. Sideways trampolining and an aerial suspended penny farthing formed some of the other spectacular feats.
When providing circus performances for corporate events, we usually recommend that shows last for no longer than six to ten minutes to keep the audience engaged, however even after a two-hour performance I was left still wanting more - maybe not tempted to join the circus but possibly run away to it for a long weekend."
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