The 35-strong international troupe bring their circus show to London’s Garrick Theatre.
Billing themselves as a ‘berserkus’ – as opposed to a circus – Cirque Berserk aim to combine traditional skills of the touring circus with a contemporary approach to staging. It’s a real variety show, with traditional circus fare including juggling and acrobatics blended with the unexpected – a contortionist doing archery with her feet while doing a handstand, anyone? – and more contemporary acts including motorcyclists tearing up the Globe of Death.
Aside from an introduction encouraging audience members to keep their mobile devices on and take photos and videos to their heart’s content, this is a dialogue-free show – there is no compere here, none of the acts are introduced. Instead the performers let the tricks do the talking, and there’s some impressive stuff here. There are balancing displays which require some serious strength; there are a handful of mesmerisingly-beautiful aerialist routines; smoke rings are blown with remarkable accuracy to knock props over.
A heightened sense of danger makes us feel more involved in the acts and Cirque Berserk! strikes a fine balance to give us just the right amount of peril. There are pyrotechnics, there is fire, knives are thrown, falls are stopped at the exact right time – there are multiple heart-in-mouth moments which kept us engaged for the 100-minute run time. There are also plenty of more frivolous and lighthearted sketches throughout the evening – this is a family friendly show and there’s enough going on here for both younger and older audience members alike.
We enjoyed our evening with Cirque Berserk! – it doesn’t do any more than it says on the tin, but what it does, it does extremely well. It’s a slick, polished and punchy performance, with plenty of variety and enough excitement to keep its audience interested throughout. It also has quite a playful sense of humour – many of the acts are both exciting and amusing – and some of the links are suitably quirky. It’s unlikely to win any awards for originality, but it’s a perfectly enjoyable evening of circus which we can watch in the comfort of a West End theatre.
GAY TIMES gives Cirque Berserk! – 4/5
More information can be found here.