Going ' Berserk' With The Cirque

Thrilling show has enough action to entertain all age groups

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Ever wanted to run away to join the circus? Well my eleven-year old was certainly tempted following by our recent visit to see a Cirque Berserk performance at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

This high-energy collection of acts from high-wire, to acrobatic, to drumming, fire-eating, highstepping, and knife-throwing, had us on the edge of our seats and we weren't the only ones. The audiance ranged from little children to grannies, all spellbound by the performance by the jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians and stuntmen from all over the world in the thirty-strong troupe.

The performance begins with an announcement that this is an interactive performance so the announcer says "Do Not Switch Off Your Phone". At first you wonder if you've heard it correctly but this is an unusual show - you're allowed to film, record, and take pictures (without flash) throughout the show- so you can relive all the best bits at home.

Cirque Berserk is an eclectic mixture of traditional acts with modern characteristics. For nearly two hours we were watching performers swing down from the ceiling or jump through hoops. There's a Odka the archer from Mongolia who uses her toes to aim the bow and fire the arrow- there's the breath-stopping drama of a man throwing knives while his partner stands rigid, and we loved the Timbukru tumblers who limbo under flaming bars and jump through hoops.

The Bolas Argentinas act originates in South America- bolas are weights at the end of chords used to capture animals by entangling their legs- here they used in a colourful display of skill to the background of high energy music. In between acts, Billy the enormous robot would thump his way across the stage, all flashing lights and thunderous music. And the children loved Tweedy the clown who enlisted the help of two members of the audiance to help him onto his very tall unicycle with many a tumble along the way.

But the most popular act was for probably the one billed as the most dangerous. The Globe of Death has three motorcyclists from the Lucius team speeding inside the steel cage at over 60 mph. It's being seen for the first time live on stage in the UK and is a real feat of skill and endurance. At one point a female member of the troupe climbs into the Globe and stands smiling while they whizz around her in a dizzying spin of noise. We could only watch through our fingers, fearful somebody would fall off. The audiance was thrilled and also very relieved when they all emerged in one piece.

Cirque Berserk on stage certainly gives the Big Top circuses a run for their money. There is a UK tour at the moment, but do try and catch a performance if it comes your way anytime soon. It's well worth it. The Wimbledon Theatre audiance certainly thought so if the clapping and cheering after the performance was to be believed.

Anne Flaherty

February 18, 2015