Fuerzabruta, Roundhouse

My Facebook feed has been clogged up with flabbergasted Fuerzabruta participants, accompanied by blurry photos of the mad and chaotic acts.

The first show to play at the re-opened Roundhouse in 2006, it continues to thrill at this great London venue on its third run.

This contemporary theatre and circus show originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2005, created by Diqui James. Since it began, it has been witnessed by over 3 million people in 25 different countries.

Fuerzabruta translates as ‘brute force’ and this theme is evident throughout in both the action and the music. The Fuerzabruta signature soundtrack provides an energetic and clubby backbone for the production, rhythmically it motivates both the performers and audience.

Visually I found the show intermittently spectacular, and there is no doubt about the creative team’s talent. The ‘running man’ runs relentlessly on a treadmill enduring gunshots, walls of cardboard boxes, and other potentially dangerous interference. Iridescent foil covers the walls as floating dancers chase each other in the air. Then there are the impressive suspended swimming pools that hover just above ones head: we were invited to place our palms on the surface as girls splash about in the tanks. It is bizarre and unexpected, and certainly feels thrillingly precarious although it does leave you with a painful cricked neck.

There is no shortage of theatrics: smoke machines, water sprays and falling confetti are utilised constantly. After the initial euphoria and excitement, I did feel some of the acts were verging on ridiculous. With no apparent storyline, it is difficult to find reason in the performance.

Parts of the show are undeniably memorable, but I left wondering what it was all about…

Fuerzabruta continues until Sunday 2 March, book here.

Bianco, Roundhouse

I would recommend not taking a bag to the Roundhouse when you go to see Bianco. The NoFit State immersive promenade circus show requires just as much energy and alertness from the audience as from the performers. Guests are required to be very mobile, moving around the circular venue after each act… a unique concept but one that was rather frustrating with a heavy handbag and coat.

Internationally renowned for its dramatic live contemporary circus performance, blending jaw-dropping skills with untamed elegance and subversive edge, NoFit State returns to the stage with Bianco. There is little narrative, or at least no story that I could grasp. Instead the show is a series of visual vignettes displaying artistic and acrobatic finesse… the only theme? The colour white. With a constantly evolving tale set to a pounding soundtrack performed by a live band, this is an all consuming theatrical experience. Under the direction of Firenza Guidi the talented cast present a vividly imaginative performance.

Though I felt this show lacked wow factor Bianco does offer fantasy and awe, and there are a few moments of magic. The Cirque du Soleil life-defying risks are instead replaced with visually breathtaking acts exhibiting immense physical strength and incredible flexibility. For me it was the band that made the whole night worth the hassle… the gut-wrenchingly passionate musicians provided a mesmerising soundtrack for the evening.

NoFit State continues to reinvent circus with this stunning performance. After London the show will tour Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol, Narberth, Bangor and Edinburgh.

In London until 27 April, more information and book here.