CirqueReviewSouth East

Cirque Berserk – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Creative Director: Julius Green
Reviewer: Lu Greer


Some people have claimed that circuses are dying. The big tops are empty. The trapeze is gathering dust. The clown shoes are forgotten. Those people have clearly never experienced Cirque Berserk, who arrive with a bang to prove that the circus isn’t just alive and well, but able to produce a whole host of new tricks.

There are still some of the old favourites such as knife throwing, courtesy of Toni and his wife, but it combines the essence of old time circus with daring and a pounding base line that has the audience holding its collective breath from start to finish. Alongside these stands some entirely new, and indeed almost inexplicable, acts including the Tropicana Troupe whose springboards and catapults send the performers so high they’re lost for moments at a time among the lights. Tweedy the clown quickly captures the audience’s hearts as he tries in vain to right everything that seems to go wrong around him, and proves that he’s got more than a few acrobatic tricks of his own. However, it is the Bolas Argentinas duo who steal the show with their combination of impressive bolas and drum performances, and their utterly infectious spirit which gives the show an initial kick of life and soon has the audience clapping and cheering.

There is often so much happening on the stage, that the set and effects could go unnoticed. The show would certainly lose its wonder without them. The combination of thumping soundtrack, intense lighting, and elaborate costumes (Matthew Bugg, Mike Roberston, and Dianne Kelly) make the show utterly captivating for the audience. Indeed, just as they begin to take the theatrics for granted, Cirque Berserk has one more trick up their sleeve: a massive fire spewing robot walks onto the stage, cementing the idea that this is not your average circus.

While the show itself is nothing short of spectacular, the slight downside is that some of the circus feel is lost in the theatre setting. While the loudspeaker voice before the show reminds the audience that it is an interactive show and to tweet and take pictures, it does initially feel unnatural to do so. After the interval the audience seem to embrace the atmosphere of the big top more, but there is a sense that just a little bit of the magic is lost among the plush seats and velvet curtains.

That being said, this is still a show that needs to be seen to be believed. There are circus tricks to capture the hearts of every child in the audience, and reimagined magnificence to rekindle that old love in every adult.


Runs Until 28 February 2016 | Image: Contributed

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The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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