Cirque Berserk!, Pleasance @ EICC, Edinburgh * * * *
Clearly unfazed by the unstoppable rise of contemporary circus swelling up around it, this company is resolutely old school. There may not be a tarpaulin above our heads or plastic seats beneath us, but in atmosphere at least, we’re still in the ring.
Aware that, year after year, the same acts appear, the Cirque Berserk team has to up the ante. In this case, by making its infamous “Globe of Death” even more deadly. Where once there were three then four motorcycles zooming around, defying gravity and their own mortality, now there are five. The fact this act can actually happen is mind-blowing and, if nothing else, a ticket to Cirque Berserk is worthwhile to see them.
It’s all part of the fun, of course, although the two large screens either side of the stage, and constant action movie-style music could tone down a notch or two, because Cirque Berserk is home to some truly skilled artists who shine all by themselves, without need of pomp.
Insanely brave knife-throwing duo Toni and Nikol take marital trust to a new level; Mongolian contortionist Elberel shoots a bow and arrow with her feet; foot juggler Germaine, of Bolas Argentinas, has a dexterity that never ceases to amaze; and Brazilian duo ‘Four Hands & Two Wheels’ are possibly the first hand-to-hand balance act to include a wheelchair-user.
All this and more, much more, adds up to a big, unashamedly brash production, with unquestionable talent in its ranks.
Until 25 August