This is my second outing to see Cirque Berserk as I was at their last show in Edinburgh roughly a year ago (February 1) , and I was looking forward to seeing this show again as the action went by so quickly sometimes on that first show that I wanted to see again “Did they really just do that”.
Cirque Berserk is really a modern take on the very traditional elements of a circus that takes tumblers, knife throwers, acrobats, juggling, aerial silks, balancing acts (and others – even a giant “robot”) and updates it in presentation for a modern audience. The natural home of course for all of these skills is a circus tent (and their brochure does tell us a bit about their “Mega Dome”), but adapting this show for an indoor stage in a theatre like The Festival Theatre tonight still works as this venue has a very large and high stage and of course the skills of the performers are still there.
This is a non-stop performance with most of it very fast action-wise, so you have to really watch here, or you will probably miss something if you look away for a second or two. I don’t want to give too much away in this review as the thrill of this show is very much watching the performers and not knowing what is coming next (oddly much of that is still there on seeing this show more than once), and some of these acts are very high risk ones. With the exception of one ridiculously difficult move, none of the acts here use any safety wires, and the slightest mistiming would prove disastrous.
One act though that I am giving no secrets away on is “Lucius Team” and their motorcycle act in the not very large metal “Globe of Terror”- one, even two motorcycles moving in that small space is dangerous enough, but adding a third then a fourth…
One act that I really enjoyed far more this time round was Scottish clown “Tweedy”. I normally don’t like clowns, but this act is a little different and is very much in a French (well certainly continental) style rather than the scary make up style. Tweedy at first looks very mundane next to the other fast moving and high risk acts of this show, but wonderful timing and a very gentle presentation style mask some serious skills here. Tweedy is a sort of link in the chain act at times here giving time for some performers to have a small rest and stages to be re-set without interrupting the flow of the show, and it works.
Unusually for a stage show, Cirque Berserk is happy for you to take photos and upload to social media, but PLEASE DO NOT USE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY. Also, as the brochure clearly states, these photos must be for personal and not professional use.
Tonight's show (as was the last one) was fairly short at roughly two forty-five minute acts with an interval in between, but there is just so much packed into this show that this is not a problem.
Cirque Berserk is of course a show performed by highly skilled artists, so the old warning of “Do not try this at home” really does apply here. In fact, “Do not try this anywhere” would be my advice, leave that to the performers on stage.
Review by Tom King