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Cirque Berserk! review at the Peacock Theatre, London – ‘thrilling’

Odka in Cirque Berserk at the Peacock Theatre. Photo: Tristram Kenton Odka in Cirque Berserk at the Peacock Theatre. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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We’ve seen circus in a Big Top, in a Spiegeltent, even in the Royal Albert Hall. Now this new touring show, founded by Zippo’s Martin Burton, happily repackages different elements of the new circus movement to go indoors to conventional theatre spaces.

The acts are drawn from a palette of highly skilled and sometimes idiosyncratic performers who might be equally at home in Cirque du Soleil, La Soiree or amongst some of the better variety acts from Britain’s Got Talent. They’re housed within an all-purpose grungy, industrial environment, dominated by a heavy metal globe that will provide the evening’s biggest thrill: it becomes a wheel of terror, eventually accommodating four motorcyclists racing around its small interior circumference with no room at all for error. No wonder that there’s a figure crouching just outside it armed with a large fire extinguisher.

The rest of the acts are variations on themes we’ve often seen before, from a group of spring-boarding acrobats, called the Timbuktu Tumblers, to a knife-throwing Czech man called Toni who hurls knives and axes at his wife, and an extraordinary balancing act from Finland called Romona and Matti who fold themselves on to and around each other’s bodies and balance on each other’s limbs. There’s an impressive foot juggler from France called Germaine Delobosq, and a clown called Tweedy who is genuinely funny and skilled in his intentionally incompetent dealings with recalcitrant ladders and bicycles. There’s also a giant robot that could have come straight out of Transformers that stalks the stage, and Gabriel and Germaine who wield Argentinian bolas with fierce determination.

Though it’s all set to a hideous electronic score that is all pumped-up drumbeats, guitar riffs and sound echoes, there are plenty of thrills to be had here.

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Seldom surprising but frequently thrilling collection of circus acts