No Fit State Lexicon in Cardiff

January 14, 2022 by

Back in 1986, from humble beginnings five friends decided to form a contemporary circus. I doubt whether of the original members could have predicted they would eventually become the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company, playing to audiences of nearly half a million in 19 different countries. But that is exactly what No Fit State Circus has become and now they are back and they are as ambitious, crazy and sublime as they ever were.

No Fit State may well have international recognition, but it is on their home patch of Cardiff where we find this ridiculously talented collective starring in their latest show, Lexicon. Taking place inside their purpose built Big Top Tent, this mark’s the circus’s first shows since early 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. After the events of the last two years, it seems that now, more than ever, we need No Fit State’s unique brand of humour, escapism and positivity. It is a big relief that Lexicon lives up to the lofty standards set by previous shows. This production delivers…and then some.


In this show, director Firenza Guidi invites the audience into what the No Fit State Circus website tells us is a ‘world inhabited by quiet misfits and furious poetry, a world of magic, laughter and lightness.’ Lexicon is all this and more. It is, at times, jaw-dropping due to the physical strength and athletic ability of its performers. It is also often surreal thanks to the innovative set (a floating classroom anyone?) and able crew members who were on hand to assemble ad disassemble complex sets in double quick time to maintain the pace and flow of the show. There were also regular and highly effective injections of humour into the proceedings with stellar physical comedy that had young and old guffawing heartily.

Special mention must also go to the musicians and vocalists within the No Fit State Circus who provided a rollicking soundtrack for this two hour show with barely a pause for breath. Musical genres were changed to suit the mood of the performance as the band effortlessly switched between rock, blues, ska and gypsy punk.

All these elements combine to make a show that is must-see. Sadly, Lexicon is now coming to the end of its run and the remaining shows up to this Saturday are sold out. If you missed out this time, fear not as they will hopefully be returning in the second half of the year with a show they are currently developing. If Lexicon and previous shows are anything to go by, it will be unmissable.


Image: Mark Robson

Leave a Reply