CirqueDramaPhysical TheatreReviewSouth West

Cirque Berserk – Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Reviewer: Kelyn Luther

Cirque Berserk is as its title suggests – a raucous circus with a carnival atmosphere. This carnival quality is unsurprising when you consider the diverse nationalities of the acts, including performers from Brazil, Cuba, Mongolia, France, and that’s only a few. Cirque Berserk are clearly, and rightly, proud of the range of cultures that make each act distinct.

A total of 35 performers perform more than 30 circus skills overall. There is a considered balance between old circus favourites, awesome acrobatics, graceful gymnastics and jaw-dropping daredevilry. The transition between the different acts has been well thought-out. Rather than leaving the audience waiting for the set-up of the next stunt, there is always something of interest to watch, some of which is very off-the-wall (fire blasting robot, animal costumes and more). The dancing transitions pale a little compared to the majesty of the acts, but that’s to be expected.

Though there is no narrative as such, central to the show is the clowning character, Paulo Dos Santos, whose comedy brings to mind the Chuckle Brothers in its charming slapstick, which went down particularly well with the children in the audience. This funnyman has a lot more than fooling up his sleeve, as is evident in Act 2.

Another act which brings a smile to your face is the acrobatic troupe Timbuktu Tumblers. There’s something delightful in being able to roll and jump through and onto anything. Whilst their opening act, jumping over a skipping rope, starts out simple, it builds into feats of pure skill in how they manipulate their bodies.

There is fantastic footwork from Elberel, a contortionist who can shoot an arrow with her foot, and from Germaine Delbosque, who juggles an impressive variety of objects with her feet and has enviable coordination.

If you suffer from migraines, beware, this is a noisy show – not simply in the loud whooping from the audience, but in revving motorbikes, twirling bolas (metal balls in end of rope) as they bash against the stage. With all but one trick performed without safety ropes, danger is always present,  so brace yourself if you have a nervous disposition.

Saying that though, Cirque Berserk’s main aim is to provide fun rather than fear, which makes it a brilliant show for families. The circus may be taken out of the big top, but it is by no means diminished on a conventional stage.

Reviewed on 14th May 2019 | Image: Contributed

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Carnival atmosphere

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. 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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