‘Timeless & eternal’: CIRQUE BERSERK – Peacock Theatre & Touring ★★★★

In Circus, London theatre, Opinion, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Peacock Theatre, London, until 17 February
Then touring

There’s a gritty sense of unpretentious wonder at Cirque Berserk’s touring show, currently playing at the Peacock Theatre in central London. Forget that other show across town with its overpriced seats, in an oversized arena – this sensational circus couldn’t be more traditional if it tried.

This year marks the fifth year that Zippos have sent their Berserk show on the road and the assembled talent is astonishing. There are neither live animals here, nor human freaks to be gawked at – rather a collection of ridiculously skilled individuals many of whom, literally, have circus in their blood.

Germaine Delbosq (a twelfth generation circus performer) juggles fire – with her feet! And when she’s not doing that, alongside husband Gabriel she performs an astonishing routine that combines the pulse of flamenco with the hypnotic swing of Argentinian bolas.

Czech Toni (sixth generation circus) throws knives at his seventh generation wife as she spins on a wheel; the Tropicana troupe soar through the air via the simple use of human bodies propelled from see-saws. Using only gravity and skill two men jump, sending the third man up to the height of the Peacock’s lighting gantries and landing him in a chair. In a truly wicked act, defying gravity is re-defined.

There is loads more to enjoy, as between the acts Tweedy the Clown (1st generation, trained in circus skills after leaving school) delivers a cracking routine of classic physical comedy and slapstick.

These gags and acts are centuries old and yet, in the hands (and legs and bodies) of this tremendous troupe, their acts seem timeless and eternal.

A nod to the 21st century comes with the finale to both acts as the Lucius Team’s four motorcyclists, engines revving, enter a steel mesh sphere. Accelerating to 60mph the bikers weave a meticulously choreographed routine amongst themselves, with centimetres to spare. Death defying, literally.

At Cirque Berserk, with no special effects or illusions, what you see is what you get. Accessibly marketed (the top price at the Peacock will get you a restricted view at the Royal Albert Hall) this is a show that families can afford and all generations will enjoy. Prise your kids away from their screens – entertainment does not come more perfectly performed.

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Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.
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Jonathan Baz on RssJonathan Baz on Twitter
Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.

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