Circus Month - Cirque Berserk @ Wimbledon Theatre

March 24, 2015

Cirque Berserk performed four sold-out seasons in London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and returned for a UK tour this year. Combining contemporary ‘cirque’ skills with thrilling stunt action, Cirque Berserk is a danger-filled spectacle that promises to amaze. It also claims to present the world’s most dangerous circus act live on stage, the legendary Globe of Death (3 motorcyclists speeding around inside a steel cage at over 60 mph), plus a troupe of over 30 jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians and death-defying stunt men joined by an award-winning clown, Tweedy.
Handstand archery with Cirque BerserkWith this in mind, expectations were high. You cannot deny that the show was an incredibly energetic and expressive performance. In contrast to the last one we saw, Inside the Box, which subtly tried to explore gender, this was a more in your face and obvious ‘WOW’ style performance. For this show it was more pushing the boundaries of sheer danger than exploring physical theatre that they were trying to achieve.
In this respect they did truly live up the ‘berserk’ element in their name. To open the show, aerial silks performed a short show to get the audience livened with their energetic display. What followed was a mix of gymnasts, acrobats, dancers, jugglers all of whom possessed impressive skill but the performances were designed to shock.; at one point a contortionist squeezed herself out of a glass bottom to perform archery with her feet whilst doing a handstand. Added to this, the Globe of Death stunt was certainly unnerving to watch, not helped by a guy with a fire extinguisher standing nearby, just in case. 
Globe of Death in action at Cirque BerserkIn contrast with all the stunt performances, Tweedy the clown provided some comic relief amongst the circus sets. He was excellent at engaging with the audience, even bringing a few of the crowd up on stage. Despite being a 90 minute show, it flowed very quickly with each scene seamlessly flowing into the next. The show advocates itself as one for all ages and it is one that would undoubtedly leave children in complete shock and awe. 
Whilst it was very different from other circus performances that were more crossed with physical theatre, it was still an entertaining and impressive show that had the audience cheering with delight. One can certainly see how it gets the fantastic reviews that it does.


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By Laura Copeman