Peacock Theatre, London
February 8, 2018
It was, quite simply, fantastic. A standing ovation might not be common for shows like Cirque Berserk, as death-defying and thrilling as they might be. However, that was precisely what greeted the company following a two-hour stint full of talent and exuberance. The bill is hugely varied and moves swiftly, leaving the audience continually wanting more from the highly skilled performers.
It is always good to see variations on the usual circus feats, as well as new tricks thrown into the mix. The Cirque Berserk company was well-balanced and slick, with a lively soundtrack and added sound effects contributing much to the delights on stage. Comedic effect was frequent from Tweedy, a Scottish clown, adding a human element to the illusions elsewhere.
Standing out were the Timbuktu Tumblers, a vibrant group of seven balls of strength, and with no apparent fear. Their human pyramids and counterbalancing skills are second to none, the group constantly rotating the bases. All their tumbles were deft and precise. Everyone’s full commitment to the cause resulting in some fantastic jumping, somersaulting and rolling across the stage. In linen trousers, shirts and waistcoats, the feeling was casual, like seven friends showing off what they do best. Whether creeping under a flaming limbo or stacking themselves high, they are heard to beat.
Silks, hoops and hand to hand acts feature in Cirque Berserk too, reinforcing the typical circus feel of the evening. These were interspersed with many different circus skills however, the range taking the evening beyond the usual circus show.
Bolas Argentinas brought theatre to the act of bolas, a throwing weapon made of weights on the ends of interconnected cords. This dazzling display of rhythm – and fear! – was seriously impressive. The Cuban Tropicana Troupe also made the audience hold their breath as they catapulted themselves into the air, while the Lucius Team astride motorbikes got the adrenaline pumping all the way around the auditorium. They gave us a thrilling ride that could have set the stage alight – quite literally! A handy fire extinguisher was waiting by the wings in case it needed to be called upon for their Globe of Death routine. Safety devices are few and far between for Cirque Berserk though, with just one other, a solitary safety wire.
Cirque Berserk is a thrilling mix of contemporary circus for the whole family. It puts a modern twist on centuries-old circus skills (the show contains 30!), and the traditions of a circus troupe, everything brought bang up to date by a team of creatives who all trained in the circus ring.
Cirque Berserk is at the Peacock Theatre to February 17th. Visit https://www.sadlerswells.com for tickets and details.
It then continues on tour across the UK. Visit http://www.cirqueberserk.co.uk for dates and venues.