Lexicon – No Fit State.
The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8EH to 18 January 2020.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2pm
Runs 2hr 15 mins. One interval.
Review: William Russell 7 January.
School is breaking up, class is dismissed and all hell breaks loose as the pupils erupt into the real world. The desks soar to the skies; they perform amazing gymnastic feats using their chairs and the desk lids, ride alarming bicycles, walk the tightrope, juggle with fire and do daring feats on the flying trapeze.
Lexicon is a circus without animals, and the programme the performing humans present is daring, death defying, dazzling and delightful. The co-operation between the performers is impressive, the mistakes made are deliberate – “Just like Tommy Cooper” one punter said – there to add just that frisson everyone who goes to a circus wants to enjoy. The man on that trapeze swings to and fro, hurtling towards the audience without a safety net so that one feels the need to duck. In fact he has a cable attached to his waist just in case, but it looks dangerously thin and the effect is breathtaking.
Amid the daring deeds on offer it seems invidious to start choosing but the fire brand juggler (Luke Hallgarten), who keeps setting himself alight and smiling all the while; the man on the assortment of strange bicycles (Sam Goodburn) who teeters around at one point on an immense stick topped by a saddle taller than he is and climaxes his act by riding on a unicycle along a line of upturned wine glasses; and the man in a kilt (Davide Salodini) who plays a clarinet and rides around on an immense green metal globe doing all sorts of falls and dance steps, revealing as he does that he is not a real Scotsman are the ones that took my fancy.
But there is something for everyone from the tightrope walker who ends by sitting on a chair balanced on his tightrope to the girl who soars up in the air using two long ropes while removing most of her filmy white ball gown, and if there is no name check this is because it is an ensemble show and the programme is hard to fathom. But the moments when they all combine to do something just plain daft are breathtaking. One’s mind boggles.
The company – Lyndall Merry; Vilhelmina Sinervo; Rosa-Maria Autio; Rosa-Marie Schmid; Nicolo Marzoli; Pablo Meneu; Luke Hallgarten; Sam Goodburn; Luca Morrocchi; Davide Salodini; Kathleen Ravoel; Junior Barbosa; Joachim Ausibal; Cecilia Zucchetti; Ellis Grover.
Musicians: Ellis Grover; Dylan Williams; Pauline Fremeneau; Molly Samson.
Director: Firenza Guidi.
Artistic Director: Tom Rack.
Composer: David Murray.
Costume Designer: Rhiannon Matthews.
Lighting Design: Jean-Marie Prouveze.
Rigging Designer: Lyndall Merry & Tairn Aitken.
Stage Design: Nic Von Der Borch & Saz Moir.
Movement Coach: Joe Wild.
Video Design: Liviu Pasare.
Production photography: David Levene.