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Lexicon NoFit State Circus

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne and happy to spread the love for funky town with the WeekendNotes readers.If the feeling is mutual you can subscribe to my articles or share them with your friends.Or visit my website at
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Lexicon circus acrobats gets down and dirty
It's Melbourne International Arts Festival time - one of my favourite times of the year. Eighteen days of performance across multiple venues and multiple price ranges, including lots of free events and family-friendly shows.

Lexicon - the UK's leading large-scale contemporary circus company - is one of the featured events of the festival. Located under a pop-up big top near the Observatory Entrance at the Royal Botanic Gardens, it's hard to miss.

big top, Lexicon, No Fit State, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Festival, circus
Come one, come all!

The show begins in what looks like a Dickensian classroom full of street urchins. Looming over their heads is a forbidding Miss Trunchbull-like figure attempting to maintain order. Ropes and pulleys are a major feature of this performance, with acrobats doubling as counterweights in their 'downtime'. That is, when they're not picking up an instrument or a microphone to provide the eclectic soundtrack to the show. Talk about multi-tasking.

Big top, Lexicon, No Fit State, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Festival, circus
Look out below!

There are giant hoops, a flamethrower, a tightrope walker, frenetic incidental gymnastics and an air of frantic activity throughout. It's a serious business hoisting people up and down on ropes for two hours. A highlight was the nerdy Where's Wally who managed to get down to his undies and put on a suit from atop a two-metre high unicycle.

There is nothing hi-tech about Lexicon. It's good old-fashioned acrobatics, set to original music that is occasionally bone-rattlingly loud but always well-executed. The talent and fitness of the performers is evident - not a tuck shop lady arm among them - but on occasion, their expectation of audience applause outweighs the feats on display. A dramatic build-up might result in little more than a pretty visual tableau rather than the acrobatic feat the audience was expecting.

Lexicon is a hectic two hours of fun performed by a bunch of young elite athletes who moonlight as cabaret performers, roadies and cleaners. You won't get the polish of Cirque, but you'll get a rough diamond with plenty of heart.
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Why? Because everyone loves a circus
When: 7pm Tuesday to Saturday, 2pm matinee Saturday, 5pm Sunday
Phone: 03 9662 4242
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens,Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141
Cost: $89
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