"Let's all go Berserkus!" is the tagline for Cirque Berserk, an intriguing collection of unique acts from across the globe that come together and form a two hour stage show built for theatre. There are acrobats, contortionists, knife throwers and motorbike riders all thrown into the fold, blending together to bring an eccentric mixture to audiences across the country.
The Timbuktu Tumblers are the first people we meet, a highly energetic group of street artists who limbo with fire lit limbo poles, form incredible human pyramids and lunge their bodies through small hoops. They did well to get the crowd ready for everything that was to come and returned at multiple points throughout the show to ensure the audience's attention was piqued.
Another duo who remained happy and got the audience laughing, whooping and cheering were Bolas Argentinas - a male and female pair who used Bolas (a throwing weapon made of weights on the end of cords) in a way they certainly weren't designed for! Cracking them against the ground and flying them close to their heads, they brought danger to the stage and a theme that only continued and grew as the night progressed.
Tweedy was a joy for the kids. His act did feel like it dragged on a little at times but he brought enough hilarity to the stage to ignore that. When he came into the crowd to pick two men to go and help him onto his bike, everybody sank a little more into their seats. Terrifying yet enigmatic, he helped lighten the mood after daring stunts.
A major highlight came in the form of the Tropicana Troupe, incredible human specimens from Cuba who catapult themselves into the air with a springboard to spin, somersault and more before landing on crash mats feet first and even at one point, a small chair on a large pole. They elicited real gasps from the watching crowd and really threatened to steal the show. If it wasn't so strong as an ensemble piece, they could have carried the entirety of Cirque Berserk themselves on their very strong shoulders.
Strength is something every single performer who took to the stage had in spades. Whether that's physical strength whilst balancing on a tall tower of stairs or holding a well-built man up simply with the backs of your legs, or mental strength and maintaining a smile whilst your husband flung knives at a wooden board behind you as you span around, every act who put their lives on the line for our entertainment really has to be celebrated.
Those who know what it's like to live dangerously are the four motorbike riders who take to the Globe of Terror. Revving the engines of everybody watching on the edge of their seats, the riders roared around the globe in perfect synchronisation, coming close to hitting one another but never allowing their attention to detail to waver. One slight movement and it would have been disaster, but thankfully it was a beautifully executed stunt that I could rewatch over and over again.
Genius through its insanity, Cirque Berserk is a real delight. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to see some of the best in the world at what they do within this genre, make it a priority to go and see the show, live at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on Tuesday March 8 and Wednesday March 9.