Cirque Berserk! at the Peacock Theatre
Long before the advent of laser light shows, guitar amplifiers, and pop-up owl cafés, there was the circus. Probably one of the longest running mediums of entertainment in human history, it appeals as much to the old as it does to the young, with fear, tension and showmanship designed to leave the audience in a state of awe. Whilst not being perfect, Cirque Berserk! certainly ticks all the right boxes.
Marketed as “the real circus made for the theatre”, the production leans on the traditional side of the art, leaving out the visual and moral aides often served up by well-known companies. More a collection of individual acts than one long performance, Berserk does its best to entertain us with a variety of stunts, tricks and, at times, sheer lunacy.
All the classics are there: the crowd gasps as knives are thrown millimetres from performers’ heads, whilst a wonderful display of “foot-juggling” impresses more than it should. The centrepiece is Tweedy the clown, who is surprisingly funny as he trips up on ladders, loses his hat, and generally makes a complete fool of himself, much to the delight of the audience. Interspersed throughout the performance, he’s excellent at providing a much-needed break from the tension and disbelief.
The star of the show isn’t Tweedy but rather the motorcyclists in their “Globe of Terror”. It starts with just one zooming around, but before long there are four in the tiny globe, spinning around faster than one would care to imagine. Fire extinguishers are at the ready, and their performance is the closest the crowd gets to genuine danger.
While the show has no doubt been designed to squeeze into a theatre, there is a sense of what-might-have-been when compared with the traditional big top. At times the performance feels a little disjointed, as acts disappear as quickly as they come, and the lack of a central theme can make it seem like a collection of auditions rather than a fully functioning circus. However, the circus is designed to be fun for all the family, and there is no doubt that is exactly what Cirque Berserk! provides.
Cirque Berserk is on at the Peacock Theatre from 8th until 24th February 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for Cirque Berserk here: