Review: Cirque Berserk! at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton

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If you’re lucky enough to be going to see Cirque Berserk! any time soon, be prepared to give your clapping muscles a serious workout!

The performance levels on show are of such high quality that the awed silence of the audience is punctuated every 30 seconds or so by a burst of applause.

The concept is simple enough - take all the best bits from traditional circuses and get incredibly talented people from all over the world to perform in a comfortable theatre setting rather than in an oversized tent.

And it’s fair to say it works.

The running order of the show is well thought-out so that a fast-paced segment featuring jugglers, flaming torches and pounding music is followed by a graceful acrobat all on her own 20ft or more above the stage, giving the crowd a chance to catch their breath.

It’s worth noting that all bar one of the stunts performed on stage are done so without any safety equipment, adding to the wow factor.

No circus would be complete without clowns, and Cirque Berserk! has at its heart Paulo Dos Santos - and what a big heart he has!

He pops up throughout the performance, longing to be one of the circus stars he is always clearing up after, and it’s not too much of a spoiler to say he does get his moment in the spotlight eventually.

There is plenty of traditional sights on show here, from knife-throwing and juggling to acrobatics, but there are some more modern flourishes to look out for and enjoy as well.

Taking centre stage, literally, is the Globe of Death, which features four motorbikes whizzing around a spherical cage at impossibly high speeds - all without crashing into one another.

None of the acts outstays their welcome – our two boys, aged eight and six, were transfixed throughout which is no mean achievement!

A particular favourites of theirs was the Cuban troupe who catapult themselves through the air through the inventive use of springboards.

It’s a visually impressive spectacle, especially so when you think how many years the performers have dedicated to honing their skills, and well worth catching the next time this particular circus is in town.

Cirque Berserk! was reviewed at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, on Saturday, March 30.