Review: Cirque Berserk!, Wales Millennium Centre

Cirque Berserk!, Tuesday 28th March, Wales Millennium Centre, reviewer: Ashley Boyle

The UK’s biggest and most diverse circus show to grace the theatre stage, Cirque Berserk, has been performing in Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The show was jam packed with daring and impressive stunts, leaving the audience awestruck and relieved that all that could’ve gone wrong was overcome. Before the show kicked off with an almighty bang, the usual announcement which asks audience members to respect their performers by not recording or using a phone throughout the show was scrapped. We were encouraged to tweet, text and snap the whole show for future enjoyment, videoing the stunts while marvelling at the skill each one of the 35 performers implemented effortlessly.

The show had a variety of acts, some of which adorned the stage several times throughout the night. One act which increased the intensity of their performance each time they re-entered was the Timbuktu Tumblers, a group of African acrobats who, without difficulty, constructed human towers, showcasing their sheer strength and trust in one another as a team . They progressed, ‘tumbling’ over each other until finally adding fire to the mix. Upping the stakes, the Timbuktu Tumblers made light work of a flaming game of limbo, much to the crowds enjoyment. In contrast but still as entertaining, was the show’s reoccurring circus clown, Tweedy. The Scotsman kept both children and adults alike amused with classic slapstick comedy. The loveable and clumsy clown won the audience over with his silly behaviour, often leaving him bewildered and in a spot of bother. The highlight of Tweedy’s performance would be when he picked two male victims volunteers from the audience, who quickly became the stars of the stage while assisting the clown upon his rather oddly shaped bicycle-turned-unicycle. It was at this point the men really started to appreciate the fantastic front row seats their wives had picked in the theatre!

Some of the other skilful performances include the very talented Odka, a Mongolian archer who would put Mrs Incredible’s flexibility to shame. Starting inside a bottle, she quickly made an escape before showing the audience her perfect archery skills – with her feet whilst performing a handstand! Throughout the performance, the spectators forgot that she was in fact upside down, due to the natural way in which she executed the trick, hitting the bullseye each time. Jose and Gaby from Colombia mesmerised the audience with their effortlessly fluid dance piece which again emphasised the couple’s strength, control and flexibility, partaking in several graceful lifts, with Gaby finishing the polished routine with a one-handed handstand – on Jose’s head. This along with the dreamy music helped to draw the onlookers into the piece.

Several of the performers risked it all in many daring and dangerous stunts throughout the show. The Cuban Tropicana Troupe, whilst donning fancy feather headpieces, used themselves as ammunition for a human powered catapult. The group assembled crash mats and their own seesaw, carefully positioning themselves before projecting one member 15 feet into the air while executing perfect spins and turns then ending with a faultless landing. The knife throwing act also had the audience on the edge of their seats, but the act that received the most praise and approval from the crowd was the giant Globe of Death, which offered the audience a teaser of what was to come in the second part of the show. One motorcyclist entered the metal sphere, covering every possible bit of space that the inside of the structure had vacant. The second act, however, offered much more. With each new motorbike that entered the stage, the cheers grew louder. After three more bikers joined the original stuntman, the lights and music helped to build up the crowd, where at one point all of the lights were cut off apart from a few neon lights that projected from the frames of the bikes. As the four bikes weaved in unison with one another at 60mph, they created a mesmerising, hypnotic display of dancing lights for the audience to applaud.

Overall, the show was striking and engaging, with something to impress everyone. Whether you’re a danger-seeker or just love a great show with plenty of enthusiastic, talented individuals, I would urge you to get yourself a ticket to see this truly berserkus variety show. It is sure to impress and even make you consider running away with the circus!

by Ashley Boyle