CIRCUS/ PHYSICAL THEATRE – Cirque Berserk! bring strength, agility and a human catapult to the Fringe

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BY BOB CUMMINS

[star rating =4/5]

A slightly different public announcement opens the show. “Do not turn off your mobile phone, take as many pictures as you like, this is an interactive experience, tweet, post on facebook and enjoy”.

The stage looks like a dystopian future but the costumes say 18th century. Cirque Berserk! hit the stage double dutching and bounding with the athleticism you hope from those circus folks.

We were entertained with great strength and agility routines in the form of aerial silks and hoops, balancing acts, juggling, feet juggling, a giant robot and a weird horses head.

We had to wait about 30 mins for the first heartstopping moment with the human catapult, perhaps this was because they had previously made everything look easy, or perhaps because it was all ‘normal’ circus performances until that point.

Then finally, the Globe of Death. This was one of the main attractions advertised for the show. A steel globe with motorbikes hurtling around inside it. I was sceptical, I’d seen this before, but this globe looked smaller which initially was less impressive, until you saw the motorbikes inside and only about a metre gap between the riders heads as they hurtle round at speeds that make your stomach turn… And it gets even better.

It was entertaining and the skills of the troupe were amazing. There were a few moments of gasps from the audience and heart stoppers but a lot of routine, usual circus acts that were perfectly performed but seemed to lack some enthusiasm.

The Lennox Theatre, is a big hall that turns into a tiered theatre. It’s quite wide and can sit 2,000 people. However, the area used for the performance was about only a third of the width of the stage. So sitting in the wings gave you a restricted view. I understand that there is the need for side space for the performance props and kit, but it was often like watching someone else’s TV from through the window.

For me, a circus shouldn’t be in a ‘normal’ building. It would have been far better suited and produced a better atmosphere if it had been in a Spiegeltent but, this show is worth seeing, especially with young children.