Zippos Presents Cirque Berserk!

The Marx Brothers greatest failing is at the circus. Rather than crash a nice middle class event with their anarchic shenanigans, they transposed themselves into a strange and unusual place, thus diluting the humour. Cirque Berserk! meets them coming the other way trying to bring the circus to the theatre.

As someone who lacks the dexterity to hold two pints from the bar to the table without a fiasco, maybe I am too easily wowed by cirques skills, but I was often impressed

The acts on stage are good, if a bit “Blackpool Pleasure Beach”-esque. There are plenty of impressive feats on display, but as a show it lacks any cohesion. We move from performer to performer without any structure to thread it together – which would be fine, but the director takes pains to ensure us in the pre-show literature that “it’s all about character and story-telling”.

As someone who lacks the dexterity to hold two pints from the bar to the table without a fiasco, maybe I am too easily wowed by cirques skills, but I was often impressed and at times watched rigid with tension.

By its nature some acts are more interesting than others, in part down to personal taste. The real stand out act are Ramona and Matti; they combine their acrobatics with a little more substance. The interplay between them is certainly majestic.

The antithesis to this would be Tweedy the clown. Clowns are a lot like Tom Jones, they wear far too much make up, and haven't produced anything worthwhile since the 1960s, no matter what Time Out says. It’s not that Tweedy is bad, per se; just bafflingly average. The true comedic potential for a scenario is never truly played out; he just moves from one trick to the next, accompanied by a soundboard that sounds like it came free with a magazine and never quite properly syncs with the onstage antics.

Despite being a show that tries to pass “berserkus” off as a verb, noun, and adjective, Cirque Berserk! is quite happy to carry on stereotypes, even if they are tangentially related. The Timbuktu Tumblers limbo in dust bowl rags, the Argentinean's say “Ariba!” and “Aye! Aye! AYE!”, and women in skimpy outfits dance between.

If you’re looking for some cheap thrills and don’t want to get your boots muddy on the walk to the big top, then you’re not going to do much better than this.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

Showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Berserk! brings this treasured form of live entertainment bang up-to-date in a jaw-dropping spectacular – created especially for the theatre.

Combining contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, death-defying stunt men and of course the award-winning clown, Tweedy.

The show also features the world’s most hair raising circus act - the legendary motorcycle ‘Globe of Terror’. Don’t miss it!

★★★★ "Heart-stoppingly good fun" Time Out

★★★★★ "Pitched perfectly between being a traditional circus experience and a theatrical production like Cirque Soleil - this is a show not to be missed!" Birmingham Mail