Review: Cirque Berserk (Riverside Studios)

The circus has stopped off in Hammersmith, and it promises to be a spectacle for all the family. Did the Cirque Berserk have the wow factor for young and old?

Although we like a good Big Top show (we’ve enjoyed Moscow State Circus and Zippos at Winter Wonderland), we are always up for a bit of a thrill in a theatre (Circus 1903 was fun).

The Riverside Studio space is a bit of a cross between the two, with a floor-level stage and raked seating. It means good sightlines and a sense of spectacle. The expected acts of a modern circus, plus a few surprises, are all present and correct.

Photos taken during the PN of Cirque Berserk

The music is recorded, the effects are flashy, and the acts go by in a flash (the show is 100 minutes, including interval). Now and again, a mistake is made, but the pace is so quick that you hardly notice. I just wanted to see a little more from some of the performers whose acts felt very brief.

With no traditional ringmaster or MC, there is no dialogue and we move quickly from tumblers to aerial acts, a bit of clowning, some death-defying moments (spinning motorbikes, knife-thrower, crossbow-firer, fire limbo) and juggling.

There’s a slightly changing line-up: checking out the souvenir brochure, a few acts were not present on press night. However, if you are looking for technical skills, glamour, and a bit of flashy showmanship, Cirque Berserk should fit the bill.

Production photo for Cirque Berserk

I particularly enjoyed the work of the Timbuktu Tumblers, the Lucius Team’s ‘Globe of Death’, Elberel’s bodily contortions, the amusing acrobatic work of ‘The Smallest Showman’ Paulo dos Santos, Hulan’s silk work, and Toni & Nikol’s daring throwing.

For the occasional moment of tension and the admiration of what the human body can do, Cirque Berserk is an entertaining evening out. As a circus ‘made for theatre’, it does mix the two with the gloss of a major production and the aplomb of the sideshow.

An enjoyable, if short, show, in all, for circus fans of all types.

You can watch Cirque Berserk at the Riverside Studios until 11 Mar – tickets here.


Image of Lucius Team: Piet Hein-Out

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