A lady with real bottle, Odka from Mongolia

Cirque Berserk!

Birmingham Rep


IF YOU have been to the circus before and think you know what to expect, then leave your preconceptions at home when you go to see Cirque Berserk!.

It’s true you may have seen the type of acts that are a part of this dynamic show before but presenting them in a theatre, with the ability to control the lighting and sound, not to mention a comfortable seat to view them from, makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

This troupe formed by Martin Burton and directed by Julius Green collects some of the best Circus  acts from across the globe to create a show full of old and new world spectacle, romance and glamour. There is often a high element of risk and even though you know the performers will have spent a lifetime perfecting their skills, you still sense that anticipation of danger, all of which has you on the edge of your seat.

The 35 performers, and there seemed more at the finale , deliver an array of circus skills with such ease and fluency that you will feel quite physically limited if you are just satisfied with your brisk walk and will only then marvel at what the human body is capable of.

globe of death

The Globe of Death

Tropicana Troupe from Cuba is one such example. Looking like an audition for scantily clad Superheroes they defy gravity, being catapulted from one side of the stage to the other, whilst performing twists and somersaults along the way.

More sedate in their delivery but beautiful to watch, is Jose and Gaby from Colombia who combine strength and ballet into a seamless but powerful dance. It all looks effortless but you know they will have spent hours in developing their physiques and their performance and it shows.

There are solo aerial performances from Jackie from the UK and then later Laci Fossett. Jackie uses ropes and open nooses, spinning dangerously high above the stage suspended at one point from just the back of her neck. Laci uses his brute strength on a suspended pole to create what seems like impossible shapes in the air, gripping only with one hand or a knee. Whilst you admire their abilities you are constantly aware there are no safety nets here.

There are many specialty acts such as Germaine Delbosq who literally sets the stage on fire, juggling objects with her feet and all the time lying on her back. Odka from Mongolia is part contortionist part archer, emerging from a large bottle to shoot arrows at a target with her feet. There’s Knife throwing from Toni from Czechoslovakia and the crazy Bolas Argentinas who use the weapons of the same name in a riveting drum beating dance off.

Keeping the show going were several appearances from Timbuktu Tumblers with their limbo skills, agility and balancing tricks, and also Tweedy the clown from Scotland. His chaotic performance had the children in the audience shrieking with laughter and he possessed more than an accomplished degree of physical skill than his fall about comedy revealed.

Finally there is Globe of Death, the impossible combination of four motor bikes chasing each other inside a 30 foot steel mesh ball at 60 miles per hour. It’s a feat that leaves you breathless and wondering how on earth they practiced for such an act. All in all Cirque Berserk is a show of true theatrical spectacle, that is worth every bit  the price of a ticket to see and everyone giving the long standing ovation in the packed house  seemed to agree.To 26-02-17.

Jeff Grant


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