Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews



CIRQUE BErSERK , New Theatre Cardiff , July-10-18
CIRQUE BERSERK by CIRQUE BErSERK Cirque Berserk, a snappy name, gives the impression of a lot of people dashing around having riotous fun and games but this show is much more than this, at times it evokes the ending of a James Bond film but nobody dies. The music is strong and up beat. The stage is full of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. Often depending on each other for the sort of support that eliminates disaster.
Itís no wonder they all get on so well.

You do get a better focus on the people with the circus on the stage rather than in the traditional Big Top. We discover what a warm-hearted, happy bunch they all are. OK there are many completely breath-taking moments.

Like all circuses the artists come from all over the world. I particularly enjoyed the simple, joyful comedy of the Moustache Brothers from Brazil. Much of their early routines were reminiscent of the silent film work of Laurel and Hardy. The amazing quick fire rapport between them was brilliant.

They may not have had the elaborate technical effects of Cirque du Soleil but they all had a vigour and a taste for danger that was awesome. Acrobatics is a key part of all circuses. The African Timbuktu Tumblers were the best you could hope to see. The shapes they made, as one body connected with another and the human tower grew and became a work of art, a human sculpture. The way the limbo dancers danced under fire lit poles only a few inches of the floor looked totally impossible.

We saw a lot of totally impossible things happening. Mongolian Odka emerges from a bottle just over a foot high then goes on to some perfectly aimed bow and arrow work with her feet! It sounds totally impossible but just go and have a look, I guarantee you will be thrilled, whatever your age.

From Columbia Jose and Gabyís balancing act had a definite feel of classical ballet. Balancing upside down on Joseís head Gaby remains still and beautiful. Members of the Tropicana Troupe were catapulted high into the air, back-flipped and landed, perfectly smoothly on a chair held to catch them. Ė Spectacular!

Thrill after thrill followed fast and furiously. Germaine Delbose, from France juggled huge silver spheres, with her feet, Gabriel and Germaine bought the tools of Argentinian Cowboys to the New Theatre Stage but they were full of dazzling fire as they spun them rapidly around their bodies. As the programme says, ďDo not try this at home!Ē

More thrills from the High-Wire acts, scary daring and diving from Jackie, one of the few UK members of the troupe.

And now things begin to really hot up. The Moustache brothers showed us there is much more to them than comedy moments with a ladder; their table acrobatics leave us all aghast.

If Czech Toniís Knife throwing isnít death defying then I donít know what is. What a brave lady his partner is as she spins around on a wheel as his heavy knives crash into the board around her, inches or less away from her face. Some people claim there are tricks to all this. No this is the Art of Circus designed to amaze and astound us. Certainly the audience here tonight was screaming with thrills and delight.
Throughout the performance an extraordinary large steel-slatted sphere remained at the back of the stage. Now the lights grew brighter as it moved towards us, with new music booming in our ears.
Then a motorbike appeared, entered the sphere and whizzed around at great speed. Then another came. They whizzed around the sphere together. Then a beautiful young lady stood in the middle of the sphere as the bikes roared around her.

More motorbikes kept coming, kept roaring around the sphere until you thought they could not go any faster. The noise stopped. The lights went out. We all breathed a sigh of relief as our blood pressure began to settle down.

The whole audience stood, to show their appreciation for these magnificent performers. At the curtain call it was clear that a fun and warm relationship ran through all the members of this fantastic company.

I never thought circus was my thing. If itís not yours, give it a go. I guarantee you will be amazed.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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