Cirque Berserk! (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Cirque Berserk

Old-fashioned, variety-packed circus featuring the Globe of Death

Don't head to Cirque Berserk expecting high-concept, new-fangled contemporary circus. This is old-fashioned popular entertainment that aims to please all ages by delivering some highly varied immediate gratification.

It took me a while to fully warm to it, maybe in part because I was distracted by simultaneous projection of the live action show on screens either side of the stage. Nevertheless the quicksilver, seven-man Timbuktu Tumblers, a gaucho-style couple whirling steel balls, the feather-adorned Cuban acrobats, female aerialist Jackie (especially adept at drops) and a slapstick comedy duo were all fairly fun, and skilled.

But it wasn't until the arrival of the Rio-based balancing act Four Hands & Two Wheels (pictured) – strongman Alan Pagnota, and wheelchair-user Rafael Ferreira – that I got hooked. They have clarity, dignity and strength. Another highlight was the exceptionally neat feat of archery by Mongolian female contortionist Elberel, as well as an extended gypsy caravan segment featuring deft foot juggler Germaine Delbosq and a knife-throwing routine from the impossibly jolly Czech couple Toni and Nikol.

For most spectators, however, the most unbeatable act is the Lucius Team's Globe of Death: first two and, by the end, five engine-revving bikers whizzing round inside a circular steel cage. The best word for it? Unforgettable.

Pleasance at EICC, until 25 Aug, 1.30 and 6.30pm, £15.50 (£10), £17.50 (£13), £19.50 (£15).

Cirque Berserk!

  • 4 stars

Contemporary cirque style artistry with jugglers, acrobats, dancers and drummers plus a legendary circus act with a motorcycle.