It’s been a while since I’ve been to a circus – I have vague recollections of going once or twice as a child. That’s it. Both the kids have been to them with their Grandparents over the years, but we’ve never been as a family. When Cliffs Pavilion offered us some tickets to see ‘Cirque Berserk’, which is ‘real circus, made for theatre’ I wasn’t really sure what to expect. We went for the opening last night (it runs there until the 22nd September) and I thought I write a quick review to share my thoughts on the show.
What is Cirque Berserk?
Cirque Berserk is a real circus made for theatre. It’s a company run by Zippos, undoubtedly the biggest name in the UK Circus industry. The blurb says –
“Combining contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, and daredevil stuntmen showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills.”
That’s a pretty perfect way of summing it up!
Is Cirque Berserk ‘family-friendly’?
Yes, absolutely – I must admit with a 7.30pm start time on a school night, James might flag a little, but my goodness – he was wide awake throughout the hour and a half show. It’s pitched brilliantly for families, there’s enough fun and silliness to make the children (and adults) giggle. Plus enough skill and artistry to wow even the most cynical of grown-ups. There are moments of ‘Mild Peril’ throughout, and James is usually very sensitive to these, however, on the whole, he couldn’t keep his eyes off the show. It’s not ‘too’ loud, there are some pops and bangs, but nothing constant or sustained. The show is broken into routines that last around 5-10 minutes, so if there is one that your child isn’t such a fan of, there isn’t long to wait for another to come along. It is a perfect family-friendly show.
Urgh, Circus stuff seems a bit dated – is Cirque Berserk like that?
The Circus certainly feels like it’s a bit old school, and to be honest, it is. However, that’s not really a bad thing at all – Cirque Berserk is a variety show, and outside of things like ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ it’s not something you see much of anymore. It’s a dying art form, and I love that Cirque Berserk are keeping it alive, and giving it a modern twist. There aren’t any animals treated badly, there aren’t any scary-assed clowns – it’s a solid hour and a half of acts and variety that you don’t get to see anymore. It’s wonderful to see a cast of people from different backgrounds all coming together and putting on a well-polished performance and showcasing the traditional elements of a Circus, but keeping it fresh and modern.
There are clowns (but not the scary kind!), there are jugglers, acrobats, knife throwers etc – but it’s staged so well, You’re not in a drafty tent, sat on hay bales – Cirque Berserk is the circus of this century.
I like that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and go super high-brow because it’s theatrical – you feel like you’re watching a circus, and not being spoon-fed high art and drama. It’s a perfect balance.
Would you recommend Cirque Berserk?
Absolutely, without question. Take your kids, take your grandparents, it’s fun for all the family. As I mentioned above, variety acts, and cirque skills are a fading art form. Yes. You can watch all kinds of exciting and energetic stunt and performance videos on YouTube. It’s just not same though. There’s something so magical about it having such skill and wonder just metres away from your eyes. Seeing the muscles of the acrobats pulsing as they swing across the stage, the clowns reacting perfectly to the audience to get that extra laugh. It’s something people need to see and experience first hand. I loved the show, but what I adored was James’ reactions – his little face was lit up the whole time. His awe and wonder as he saw things he’d never seen before. His silly giggles at the clowns – it was perfect.
It’s also different from most theatre shows because they actually actively encourage you to keep your phones out. They want you to film, take pictures, and share to social media. Even though this was mentioned a few times in the announcements, the adults were mostly polite and kept their phones away. I saw some teens with phones aloft, recording and Snapchatting the action – which was great to see. It does feel unnatural filming in a theatre, and something I’m glad isn’t a ‘thing’ for every show, but it works for Cirque Berserk, and it also means I have a little vlog of last night to edit together.
Cirque Berserk, simply put, is a perfect fusion of traditional circus skills and slick modern theatre production. A fun show for all ages!
If you’re in, or near Essex, you can catch Cirque Berserk at the Cliffs Pavilion until the 22nd September 2019. I believe they are performing at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland in November and December too. Check the Cirque Berserk website for all the dates and details.
Disclaimer – We were gifted three tickets to Cirque Berserk erk in return for a full and honest review
Cirque Berserk - Cliffs Pavilion
Cirque Berzerk, simply put is a perfect fusion of traditional circus skills and slick modern theatre production. A fun show for all ages!