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Theatre Review: Cirque Berserk @ The Orchard Theatre, Dartford


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Cirque Berserk has returned for a new tour in 2018 which is marking 250 years since the first ever circus show.

The show wastes no time in getting started. The Timbuktu Tumblers rush on stage, performing amazing somersaults and pyramids. There's also some dramatic limboing underneath fire and the transition well into the Bolas Argentinas.

Gabriel and Germaine from Argentina juggle the bolas and dance to the rhythm, the beat, and the speed really is something else and the two certainly played up to the crowd.

South America also provides Jose and Gaby, two Colombian dancers who are quite simply excellent. Their performance demonstrates strength, Jose holding Gaby high above his arms. It shows elegance, in a carefully choreographed dance sequence and balance, with Gaby resting her hand on the top of Jose's head and hanging in there perfectly still - as though in suspended animation.

The Tropicana Troupe from Cuba make use of catapults to perform stunning acrobatics whilst Tweedy, a Scottish clown provides some wonderful Mr. Bean style slapstick humour. He gets himself into some really strange situations, but with this creativity, finds some amusing ways to get out of them. 

Lucius Team partakes in the Globe of Death, in the first act you will see two motorcyclists ride around a sphere with a woman standing arms stretched in the middle at 60mph.

By the term the curtain closes for the interval, you are disappointed it has come to an end, even though it is only for a few minutes.

The highlights after the break are some Czech knife throwers and Odka, a Mongolian lady-in-the-bottle, who shows her amazing dexterity by doing some archery. There are more acrobatics and ballets.

The music designed by Matthew Bugg perfectly captures the mood and aides the enjoyment of the piece, Dianne Kelly's costume design is stunning, full of colour and this vibrancy is on show throughout the show.

The whole show is nice and relaxed, the performances stunning, some of them need to be seen to believed. If I had some criticisms, and they are minor, I would have liked a bit more variety, a trapeze artist and a traditional clown are obvious missing pieces. There's also a giant robot that comes on seen shooting flames, but it doesn't really do anything and is quite confusing. It seems to build up to something more but instead leads you feeling quite disappointed. 

It may not quite have the same glamour and showyness of Cirque de Soleil or Zippo but it's a cheap, affordable night out that the whole family will enjoy. If you want to run away and join the circus, if only for one night, then Cirque Berserk is a good bet. 

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