Birmingham Express and Star have called it “the greatest show on Earth.” Only five minutes into Cirque Berserk and I had to agree. The performance begun with the Timbuktu Tumblers and their acrobatic art. Their display of pyramids and daring stunts proved to be only an introduction to what the show entailed. Inspired by street dance, their act was fierce and grand. I have never seen an audience in such disbelief.
Creative director, Julius Green, and founder and company director, Martin Burton, define the experience as not a circus, but a “berserkus”! Eyes hidden behind hands prove this when the Globe of Death begins. People held their breath for, not one motorcycle performing a 360-degree loop at 60 miles per hour, but four motorcycles at the same time. Not knowing if I should applaud such wild behaviour, I decided to internally scream.
One of the greatest moments of circus is the break from outrageous risk to loving, family comedy. The Mustache Brothers performed a set of hilarious chopstick comedy. It is clear that the two love the theatre and the thrill of improvisation. On the stage, anything can happen. When such jokes did not meet the timing of the sound effects, their quick thought and talent for comedy still managed to make everyone laugh.
Act one finished with the audience wanting more, and more is delivered when the curtain re-opened. By this I mean the horror of knife throwing from brave Toni, a graceful display of aerial beauty by Jackie, and a performance of trust and strength between two high-flying individuals, Jose and Gaby. My only criticism is that the space of a stage can only limit the amount of craziness that can occur at once.
Various cultures from around the world came together for a dance to demonstrate amazing and shocking skills. The Bolas Argentinas’ act consisted of a love for fire, Odka from Mongolia illuminated the power of the human body, and Tropicana Troupe illustrated an array of dangerous somersaults, springs and leaps of faith, to the beat of Cuban music. This was a thoughtful component to include as it allowed the crowd to truly appreciate the rare collection of talent and their journey.
The programme claims Cirque Beserk to be the “adventure of a lifetime.” The stage ended in flames and beams of light and we were all left mesmerised. Once the circus was a place for the outcast and the freak. Now, it is a cause for celebration and disbelief. Definitely a must-see for family fun, I urge everyone who reads this to go and see the travelling show. Can you honestly say that you have lived if you have not held your breath whilst a man smiles, balancing on only one hand above a twenty-foot high tower of chairs? I think you know the answer.
Cirque Berserk played at the Norwich Theatre Royal from Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 of April.