Reviewed by David Warwick
What fantastic family entertainment! The audience at the Kings Theatre in Southsea, Portsmouth consisted of all age groups and we were glued to our seats watching death-defying feats, gasping at the agility of the acrobats and laughing at the antics of the clowns! Cirque Berserk combines the skills and traditions of the touring circus troupe with a contemporary, theatrical approach to lighting and staging and it makes for an excellent show. All the well-loved components of the circus are present including acrobatics, juggling, knife throwing, and motorcycle riding in the ‘globe of death’ but these are presented in a contemporary manner in the theatre and it provides good old-fashioned family entertainment. This was the only theatre show I have ever been to where we were instructed NOT to turn off our phones but to tweet, Facebook and photograph as much as we liked!
The company consists of 35 performers delivering more than 30 different circus skills. The performers are truly international and come from as far afield as Kenya, Cuba, Mongolia, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France and the UK. Between them they produce non-stop action and entertainment and ensure that the audience is always on the edge of their seats. Many of the acts are genuinely death-defying as all but one is done without any safety devices and the knife throwing, motorcycle riding and aerial acrobatics have the audience holding their breath in nervous anticipation.
The show commenced with acrobatics from the Timbuktu Tumblers who continued with a variety of performances throughout the evening including limbo dancing under a fire-lit pole less than 30cm from the floor! Bolas Argentinas provided a dazzling display with bolas (weighted ropes) and the Tropicana Troupe used springboards to perform amazing acrobatics. Odka, from Mongolia was a highlight of the show. Not only did she appear on stage inside a bottle, from which she extricated herself apparently effortlessly, she then shot a bow and arrow with her feet whilst performing a handstand! Amazing. Germaine gave a masterclass in foot juggling whilst Laci, Rosey and Jackie dazzled us with various aerial displays. Knife throwing at a hapless assistant spinning on a wooden board is an age-old circus act and Toni delivered it with great skill and fortunately without mishap! The Mustache Brothers provided the slapstick comedy which glued the whole evening together and they proved they were very able acrobats as well as clowns that made everyone laugh. Finally, the daredevil Lucius Team got the adrenaline really pumping when 4 of them rode their motorcycles at speeds reaching 60mph in the Globe of Death. All in all a wonderful mixture of highly entertaining acts.
The Kings Theatre is a very ornate building which opened in 1907 and is situated in the centre of Southsea surrounded by a variety of bars and restaurants. Parking can be difficult although theatre users can use the Waitrose car park, about 10 minutes’ walk away, subject to conditions.
Tickets cost from £10 to £29 (booking fees may apply).
Cirque Berserk is at the Kings Theatre in Portsmouth from 27-30 May 2018, for more information or to book tickets click visit kingsportsmouth.co.uk or call the box office on 023 9282 8282.
The Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hants, PO5 2QJ | 023 9282 8282