Cirque Berserk

March 11, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More

★★★★☆   Runaway success

Festival Theatre: Thurs 10 – Sat 12 March 2016
Review by Hugh Simpson

Suitably high tempo and jaw-dropping, Cirque Berserk bring the thrills of the circus to the theatre in a pacy, thoroughly entertaining show.

A large variety of acts from across the globe are featured, from the elegant footjuggling of Germaine Delbosq to the bolas throwing of Gabriel and Germaine – a kind of extreme yoyoing that threatens to take the performers’ faces off – but the overall atmosphere is of a loud, relentless parade of high-energy, high-risk acts.

Cirque Berserk

Cirque Berserk

Backed by a thumping soundtrack, turns come and go at speed, with some – chair stacker Zula, contortionist Odka – barely having time to register. While there are occasional issues with the staging and running order, on the whole it is cleverly thought out and well paced. The second half certainly ups the ante concerning the danger level, with large amounts of fire onstage and one routine that finally requires a safety harness.

In this company, even Toni’s knife throwing does not have the frisson it might. That cannot be said of the show’s signature act, the Lucius Team’s Globe of Terror, where motorcyclists ride around each other inside a metal globe onstage in a performance that defies belief.

There are equally gasp-inducing moments from Jackie the aerial strap performer, who understands very well that there has to be a suggestion of real danger for even the most accomplished act to truly impress. Similarly, handstand act Ramona and Matti are savvy enough to put in the odd wobble to remind you of the difficulty level of an act that otherwise seems effortless. Handbalancer Kremena, conversely, makes things look just a little too smooth.

frankly ludicrous skills

The Timbuktu Tumblers, who appear throughout the show, perform a series of acrobatics and impressive strongman pyramids in a way that is aesthetic and seemingly natural; far from natural are the frankly ludicrous skills of the Cuban Tropicana Springboard troupe, who are sent soaring into the lights above the stage.

Tweedy on the slack wire

Tweedy on the slack-rope

In among the high-octane thrills, welcome respite is provided by Tweedy, who is often billed as a clown but is more reminiscent of a physical comedian from variety, or even the greats of silent movie comedy such as Harold Lloyd or Buster Keaton. His understated, almost subtle routines are a joy to behold, notably a beautifully paced slack-rope routine that is an absolute masterclass of the genre.

Announcements before the show encourage the audience to keep their phones on, tweeting and Facebooking to their heart’s content. Such temptation should be avoided, if only because it is unwise to take your eyes off the stage for even a moment.

Those who are old-fashioned enough to object to this on principle may also miss the scuzzy atmosphere of the Big Top, with its whiffs of sawdust and cordite. However, there is more than enough engine oil, noise and fire here to satisfy most people, along with the necessary breathtaking thrills that make up a proper circus. This is an extremely enjoyable evening that has the broadest possible appeal.

Running time 1 hours 50 minutes (including one interval)
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT
Thursday 10 – Saturday 12 March 2016
Thursday 7.30pm, Friday 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm, Saturday 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm
Full details and tickets on the Festival Theatre website: http://www.edtheatres.com/cirqueberserk

Cirque Berserk on Twitter: @CirqueBerserkUK

Cirque Berserk website: www.cirqueberserk.co.uk

ENDS

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