Review: Cirque Berserk!
Image: Cirque Berserk
The Lucius Team
Jose and Gaby
Berserk Dancers and Aerial Ballet
Tweedy (until 24 Feb)
The Mustache Brothers (from 27 February)
Showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Berserk! celebrates the 250th anniversary of the invention of Circus by bringing this treasured form of live entertainment bang up-to-date in a jaw-dropping spectacular created especially for the theatre.
Combining contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers and daredevil stuntmen.
Featuring the world's most hair-raising circus act - the legendary motorcycle 'Globe of Death'.
Zippos presents Cirque Berserk!
Real Circus made for theatre.
In the past few years, circus has undergone a metamorphosis and for good reasons, of course, and the likes of Cirque du Soleil have injected a new thematic approach.
These days, the focus of this long-standing, historic genre of entertainment has shifted to the skill of the human variety of animals and the restructuring of the concept has lost none of its overall appeal in the process.
Moreover, the more traditional variety of circus is also finding its way out of draughty tents located on muddy heaths and parks and into ... the West End.
And rightly so.
In a London awash with lavishly-produced musicals, it's fitting for circus to show off its considerable skills and talents alongside them.
Circus has a long tradition of extraordinary showmanship (stretching over 250 years in its modern history) so its appropriate that it should find its way into convenient locations where there are willing and eager audiences.
And those audiences will find bags of well-crafted entertainment and fun in this version of modern circus, that focuses on what can be described as more traditional skills.
It's always great to see families out together in the theatre, and the excitement among one such family group sitting just in front of me (with two young members aged about 4 to 6, armed with a tub of popcorn almost as big as themselves) was palpable.
But the audience included not just families, with a young, twenty-something couple sitting next to me, and pretty-much all other ages represented in the venue.
And you can forget about worrying how theatrical etiquette works, like whether you can use your phone during the show.
Because this performance is described as an interactive show and taking photos and videos (for your own use) and tweeting and posting on your Facebook page is not merely acceptable, but actively encouraged.
Sometimes, that means people are more focused on their phones than the action ... but, hey, this is 2018 after all.
This edition of Cirque Berserk! has one powerful connection with the musicals running in the theatres surrounding it in the West End - music.
Well-selected and powerful tunes fill and embroider the show from start to finish, building tension and fuelling excitement right the way through.
Now I'm not going to give too much away about the exact nature of the acts on offer, but there's certainly something for everyone here - clever clowning, thrilling knife-throwing, fabulous tumbling, aerial acts, dancers, jugglers and a whole lot more.
When a gigantic robot ploughed its way across the stage just before the interval the eyes of the little people in front of me almost popped out of their heads.
But the really astonishing act utilises the huge round metal cage which resides on stage for the entire show, but gets brought to the front at the end of each half of the show.
It's an extraordinarily amazing motorcycle act that combines enormous skill and fearless audacity, that takes on an even bolder and more ambitious dimension on its second appearance, rightly securing it's top billing.
On the downside, some of the acts seem rather brief, even if they involve impressive feats of strength or physical endurance.
Circus has achieved a considerable transformation in recent times, reinventing itself yet preserving all that was great about it in the first place - the excitement and anticipation, the skill and the daring, all combined with artistry and genuine showmanship.
Cirque Berserk! encompasses all of that in a non-stop visual and musical extravaganza that is rollickingly good, family fun.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Harold Pinter Theatre
Our show listing for Cirque Berserk!
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