Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town!

Cirque Berserk came to the Marlowe Theatre

Cirque Berserk is a quite extraordinary show. It brings the thrills and spills of traditional circus and plonks them right in the heart of Canterbury, in the genteel setting of the Marlowe theatre.

Celebrating 250 years since Philip Astley developed the first modern circus show, the show provides just about everything the circus has to offer.

There were motorbikes, there was fire (lots of fire!), there was even a robot shooting sparks across the stage.

I was captivated from the moment the athletic Timbuktu Tumblers arrived on stage, using a skipping rope in ways that you just won’t see on the playground.

Classic circus acts, like knife throwing (literally couldn’t watch!) and acrobats, rub shoulders with less familiar but equally extraordinary performances.

Cirque Berserk’s motorcycle act the Globe of Death

As someone who has tried and (so far) failed to learn to juggle with three balls, I was in utter awe of the sheer talent on display.

Even if you find juggling easy, imagine juggling with your feet and your hands at the same time. Or with flaming sticks.

The show is well choreographed, with acts held together by clever segues.

The Mustache Brothers pop up throughout the show, mixing slapstick humour with genuine acrobatic skill.

Think Charlie Chaplin times two – and then some. The show becomes greater than the sum of its parts as a result.

But special mention has to go to the Globe of Death. Cirque Berserk is the very first circus company to find a way to stage the act in theatres.

There is something almost surreal about watching (and hearing!!) motorbikes spin around inside a metal globe within the confines of a theatre more accustomed to musicals and plays. It was scary, loud and absolutely thrilling.

Watching this show is just about as thrilling as anything you can do sitting down in a comfy chair.


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