Cirque Berserk at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre created a night filled with laughs, applause, and some level of anxiety and terror, in a good way… This Berserkus brings trained circus performers together into a theatre setting where they execute dozens of different skills and tricks. The members of the performance come from groups all around the world, including Kenya, Mongolia and Brazil to name a few. The performances are incredible and in many cases made me hold my breath in anticipation.
The show is performed almost completely without any types of safety devices, except for in one trick where it is completely necessary. This lack of safety leads to even more excitement from the audience as they worry about what could happen to the members. Seeing people get launched into the air, watching head to head balancing and seeing motorcycles zipping around a pretty small rounded cage all makes for a great adrenaline boost and creates the excited feeling that comes with watching these tricks performed successfully.
All of the acts are incredibly impressive, and even the clown named Tweedy is so acrobatic. His tricks are dangerous as well. He balances precariously on ladders, does somersaults, handles falls, and even juggles knives. His slapstick comedy is truly hilarious. Other memorable performances are the knife throwing, foot juggling, hand balancing, human catapulting, tumbling, and the use of bolas (a throwing weapon). However, these are just some of the tricks presented at the show, and all of them require an amazing amount of talent, strength, teamwork, precision and agility.
This show is one of the coolest things that can be seen in a theater. It truly makes you feel as if you are under a big tent, and the performers are so talented and charismatic. The mix of classic tricks, like doing the limbo under a fiery pole, as well as newer ones, such as the motorcycles in a cage makes for a well-rounded performance.
One of the other amazing aspects of the show is the music which fits perfectly with the emotions that the performers are making the audience feel. It fits the anxiety at the right times and the moment of relief when a trick was done successfully. Newer songs are used as well as some more classic circus music, especially used when Tweedy comes out. At most times the music also incites the desire to dance along. It complements the show perfectly, which the lighting also does. Like the music, it moves from dramatic to calm at just the right times during the performances.
Overall, Berserkus is one of the most exhilarating performances I have ever seen in a theatre. The tricks that these talented performers successfully complete all seem impossible and they are extremely impressive. I recommend everyone should go to witness the show at its next stops on its tour. I can’t even begin to describe what a wonder it is to see in person, and the way the show feels old fashioned and under a big top is something that cannot be described, it’s almost nostalgic.
Berserkus is unforgettable.