Riverside Studios, London
Zippos bring their circus back to London and as ever in a punchy 90 minutes (+ half time interval) their acts are a display of supreme human strength and talent.
The acts on display are all traditional but, without a big-top tent to perform in, are scaled down to the dimensions of a traditional stage - on this occasion the versatile space of Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios.
What’s so enchanting (if Cirque Berserk can even be called enchanting!) about the show is the close-up intimacy of the performers. We hear their calls that co-ordinate their split-second synchronisations, we see their muscles flex and tremble, evidencing the power that underlies their graceful movement and we inhale the brutal aromas of their acts. The smoke from the flaming limbo bar, the haze of fireworks from the occasional bursts of pyro and the smell of the roaring motorcycle engines defying gravity as the bikes of the Lucius Team spin within the Globe of Death.
Above all Cirque Berserk perform acts that to our muggle minds are literally beyond belief. Be it trapeze work and aerialist magnificence, or pyramids of humanity that reach to the Riverside’s lighting rigs, or Elberel, a contortionist able to fire an arrow from a longbow - and score a bullseye! - and that’s without mentioning the juggling, knife and axe-throwing that had this reviewer looking away in terror!
And interspersed throughout is physical comedy led by the diminutive Paulo, who is not only a sublime clown in the most modern interpretation of that word, but also shows himself to be a breathtaking aerialist too.
This is not just brilliant circus,it is affordable and accessible circus too. For half-term family entertainment, Cirque Berserk is the best value show in town.
Runs until 12th March
Photo credit: Piet Hein-Out