Billed as Britain’s biggest theatre spectacular, Cirque Berserk! returns to Edinburgh following their hit Fringe debut in 2018, this time with even more acts and spectacular updates on the old ones. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre’s quiet halls and rather formal atmosphere might not seem the ideal place for a high-octane circus but Cirque Berserk! manages to bring the thrill of the high top with them from the very start of the show. However, the decision to enlist the help of two screens on either side of the stage, in order to bring the action closer to the audience, ultimately fails. While the action onstage is underlit due to the cameras, it comes out overlit on the screens, making it hard to clearly see the action on either.
Fantastic fun for the whole family!
But what a show! Cirque Berserk! features a collective of artists from all over the world that offer a wide range of classic circus acts, like clowning and knife throwing, as well as more modern and mechanical acts, like the much-talked about motorcycle Globe of Death and the Giant Robot who comes in at one point like some sort of fire-breathing predator. There’s also jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers and tumblers, who all perform some of the most jaw-dropping things the human body is capable of. The adrenaline never stops pumping throughout the 60 minute show, except when it slows down around the midway mark for an exceptionally beautiful and inspiring act performed by Four Hands & Two Wheels. You could hear a pin drop in the audience as the two artists showed off their incredible skills. A truly stunning moment in a show that mostly favours flash and spectacle. The action soon ramped up again, however, and the grand finale inside the Globe of Death drew a collective gasp from the crowd and compelled my six year old seatmate to stand up and throw his fists triumphantly in the air. Not a bad note to end on.
Cirque Berserk! offers something for everyone and there was no difference in excitement between the youngest audience member and the oldest. As more and more circus troupes move away from the ‘traditional’ form of circus towards something more scaled back and intimate, it’s refreshing to see that there are still circus shows like Cirque Berserk! that keep with tradition but update it for a modern audience. Fantastic fun for the whole family!