Balls of fire, motorbikes, acrobatics and death-defying stunts are a far cry from my usual Tuesday nights but for the crew of Cirque Berserk it is all in a day’s work.
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I went along to see this contemporary touring circus troupe at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate this week but there was no way I could have predicted such a jaw-dropping thrill ride.
The weirdly wonderful show had me gripping my seat in anticipation as the performers risked life and limb to perform dangerous tricks without any safety devices.
From the moment the Timbuktu Tumblers leapt on to the stage to open the show – you know you are about to see something special. They limbo with fire lit limbo poles, jump through hoops and back flip across the stage all with what appears to be, great ease.
Following this, we were then blown away by bola throwing (a weapon made of cords with weights on the end) and entranced by catapult artists Tropicana Troupe and various strap acrobats (think trapeze but on two straps. The there is the amazing lady in a bottle Odka – who shoots arrows with her feet after climbing out of a small glass bottle (seriously!?).
However, one of my favourite acts was Jose and Gaby. I could have watched the Columbian dancers all night as they performed a mesmerizing display of balance and dance that was simply beautiful. I also really enjoyed Germaine the foot juggler throwing everything from balls and rings to flaming objects with her feet (how the hell did she find out she could do that?) and the Globe of Death was just as breath-taking as it sounds. The Lucius Team is made up of four bikers who get up to speeds of 60mph inside the ‘globe’ – which is kind of like a sphere shaped cage!
Of course, every good circus has a clown and Cirque Berserk is no exception. The slapstick comedian Tweedy was a crowd-pleaser from start to finish and although his act didn’t really appeal to me, it was nice to see that even in these dark times – grown up people still laugh out loud at the sight of a man’s pants falling down!
Cirque Berserk attracted a mixed audience from families with children to groups of teenagers alongside more mature theatre-goings but all appeared united in their awe and appreciation of the skills and bravery of the crew!
If you are looking for something very, very different I would definitely recommend going to see Cirque Berserk – I know I won’t forget it in a hurry!
For more details or tickets call The Royal and Derngate 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk