NoFit State Circus return to The Roundhouse with Lexicon, a show that was originally created in 2018 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of circus, and as such brings together some of the more traditional aspects of the art form in an enticing blend of the simply spectacular.
The company that comprises Lexicon are more used to performing in a Big Top, but undoubtedly feel right at home within London’s Roundhouse. In part, because the skeleton of the Big Top is actually built within the Roundhouse’s main space. The seated audience are therefore treated to a series of acts performed in the round, some are aerial feats while others are more intimately performed on the ground, with the performers often emerging from the stalls.
Many of the acts perform solo, like Luke Hallgarten’s hilarious fire juggling routine, or Rosa-Marie Schmid on the Double Ropes and Risley. But it is clear almost immediately, that the company of Lexicon are more than a team of performers, there is a real sense of family amongst them and during almost every act, the rest of the team are present somewhere, taking on an ensemble or rigger role.
Very much a part of that family are the musicians and singers who provide the folk/rock soundtrack which accompanies Lexicon. The music is as impressive as the circus routines, giving the production a wonderful ethereal ambience.
This exhilarating production is at its best during the high speed, high risk acts such as Luca Morrocchi’s Chinese Pole act, but the audience favourite was most certainly Sam Goodburn, the unicyclist who’s act developed throughout the production.
In the opening minutes we are told that Lexicon represents the ‘art of misbehaving’ and indeed The Roundhouse does feel like it’s inhabited by a group of impish miscreants, seeking to wreak havoc at every opportunity. It means that acts often look rough around the edges, or performed in the spur of the moment, of course, this actually goes to show just how much precision and expertise is required from everyone involved.
Lexicon creates a cathedral of circus within the Roundhouse, with every nave of the venue intricately lit to provide the maximum effect. One balancing act which involves shadow is so insanely beautiful an entire show could be created from this one act alone. But it is when all of these circus skills combine that we see the true wonder of circus, an art form where each skill is valued equally, and each solo performer a part of something much bigger.
Lexicon redefines circus for the 21st century by taking it back to the very roots of the art form. The performance will leave you desperate for more, or perhaps even wishing you could learn your own spectacular skill, in the hope of joining this wonderful family of talented performers.