REVIEW: With the word “Cirque” in their name, some people might be expecting a light and frothy show of tumblers and mimes. Oh would they be wrong. The experience of Cirque Berzerk starts with a dark and brooding atmosphere and then adds hallucinogenic or psychotropic drugs to your bloodstream.

Imagine being plucked out of your seat and plunked down in the middle of a Lucrezia Borgia costume party on the night she decided to spike the drinks. Everything is just a little. . . off-kilter in a most delightful way.

Truth butts up against illusion again and again, often in humorous ways. Yet there is always an undercurrent of danger in the air, helped along by an excellent and nearly non-stop music score that is like a soundtrack to the dreams of lovers who are experiencing an orgy for the first time.

In the twisted and tumultuous world of this Cirque, secrets and revelations are the order of the day (or night, because even the brightest moments seem to take place by the light of a fierce moon). Is that a young innocent girl in this scene, or a knowing temptress who is just playing a role? Is that a wicked brother of Satan who is serving as ringmaster, or a wise old man who is teaching you to avoid making bargains with the otherworld?

In Cirque Berzerk, you may never be quite certain of the reality of anything other than the incredible physicality of the performers. Gravity is defied and mocked with some of the most astonishing feats of strength I have seen. You see the muscles clench and twitch as sweat breaks out from under the wicked wigs, costumes and make-up. This show takes EFFORT.

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For two hours, the berserk denizens of this Cirque captivate and alarm you with fishnet stockings, flashy facepaint, dangerous deeds, crafty choreography, and astonishing acrobatics that often take place in mid-air. Plus, they sell absinthe in the bar at intermission. See it just to compare it to your best nightmares.

Updated Thu, 25 Jun 2009 at 4pm PDT :
Web site for Cirque Berzerk, which has ticket and show information: .