Circuses aren’t what they used to be. Take Cirque Berserk, for instance. No big top and sawdust ring for them (although all the performers are well used to that discipline). You’ll find them onstage at the Festival Theatre, until Sunday the 12th February, offering a fabulous selection of circus skills, many of which have been given an intriguing new twist.
I guess the clue is in the name. This is a series of traditional skills taken to the very edge, sexed up with thundering music and state-of-the-art lighting effects, and delivered at a breathless pace. The opening act, Timbuktu Tumblers, race onto the stage and start flinging themselves around like madmen and from there, the show is never allowed to flag. As one act exits, the next comes racing on and the action doesn’t pause until the interval. After a short break, they’re back and the insanity continues…
It would be impossible to mention every act on the bill but tonight’s highlights for me, include Cuba’s Tropicana Troupe, a group of performers who use see-saws to catapult themselves impossibly high into the air: Odka, from Mongolia, who can squeeze herself into a tiny bottle and who can fire a bow and arrow with deadly accuracy, using only her feet: Toni, from Czechoslovakia, who hurls flaming knives at a confidently smiling assistant with uncanny accuracy: and most nerve-wracking of all, The Globe of Death, in which four leather clad motorcyclists hurtle recklessly around the interior of a metal sphere, passing within inches of each other, an act that I must confess I watched whilst chewing my fingernails. One false move and this could end very badly for all concerned.
Just to cover all the bases, there’s Tweedie, a slapstick clown with a penchant for tripping over things and the occasional unexplained appearance by a giant flame-shooting robot. It all adds up to a spectacular (and occasionally jaw-dropping) evening of family entertainment and it would be a picky individual indeed who claims they aren’t being given value for money.
Check out Cirque Berserk before they head off to their next engagement. You may occasionally be terrified, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.