Festival Theatre, Edinburgh – until 15 March 2020
Reviewed by James Knight
The circus has well and truly come to town in Cirque Beserk’s new tour. While much of the advertising is based around the ‘Globe of Death’ i.e. the one with the motorbikes inside a massive metal sphere, there’s plenty here to enjoy and astound you. Cirque Beserk will be no stranger to Edinburgh audiences from the Edinburgh Fringe or the Lucius Bikers recent appearance at the King’s Theatre panto this year, and they deserve your attention.
I’m always a bit worried that circus doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. After all, it’s possibly the hardest performance style to stage: multiple disciplines, all the health and safety requirements, not to mention the specialist equipment… But to see a international troupe of performers (Mongolia, Spain, Ireland, Timbuktu to name a few) interacting and celebrating each other is surely something to encourage.
But enough of that. Let’s talk about the tricks. The show kicks off with the Timbuktu Tumblers, who well and truly live up to their name. Of course, they make it look effortless. They make it look easy. They lure you into thinking ‘I could do that’, then suddenly there’s a six man pyramid with only two people on the bottom.
Clownish antics and buffoonery are supplied by Paulo dos Santos, an instant hit with the audience, combining old-fashioned slapstick with impressive acrobatics.
Other highlights include Elberel, the contortionist archer (of course there’s a contortionist archer, it’s the circus), Antonio and Connor, the youngest members of the company performing joint acrobatics, Toni and Nikol, the knife throwing act, and the Khadgaa Troupe.
Oh, the Khadgaa Troupe. Solid, strong, a little bit intimidating, this group from Mongolia probably got the biggest gasps of the night. But then, it’s hard not to when you catapult someone twenty feet diagonally into air to have them caught on top of a pillar of people.
Finally, the Lucius Bikers, who closed both acts. There’s an almost unbelievable quality to their performance – the gravity that should apply to motorbikes whizzing around the inside of a spherical cage disappears instantly. It most definitely to be seen to be believed.