Saturday, March 12, 2011

L.A.'s Cirque Berzerk Goes Financially Berserk, Into Bankruptcy Big Top ... A Tale Not New at All

Out of the past: From March 12, 2011

The new ambitious troupes put up by the young hungering to "reinvent" circus far more often than not invariably stumble through artistic hubris into premature deathts. Experimentation, a noble aspiration, has a high failure rate. These small upstarts cleverly latch onto corporate funding for a while, flash and dazzle and sputter and fade.

Cirque du Soleil was a great great global exception. At the top it had and has a business minded genius and a true impresario named Guy Laliberte.

The Pickle Family Circus, forging a middle road at first -- until it turned itself into a mantra against too many things circus -- enjoyed a nice little sunny ten or twelve year run, but never making enough money to put up its own little tent. They are history. Others, like Cirque Flora, establish regional success turning out brief annual seasons of months or weeks, squeaking by on the good will of community support.

Here is the story of a very short lived show, Cirque Berzerk, which I've just uncovered, trying and wanting to see them this year. Already, they are, I fear, history. Much of it, I assume of their own doing. Let the story be told though the following bits lifted from an on-line source called CurbedLA:

"A Cirque Berzerk event, Cirque Berzerk Theatrical Productions, LLC, filed for bankruptcy last week, citing debts of about $600,000. Which "event" this is isn't clear, but Cirque Berzerk's two recent major LA runs include a 2009 Cornfield Park summer event and a 2011 January show at Nokia Theater (both shows had extended runs, too). Cirque Bezerk CEO David Berrent didn't return a phone call. "Cirque Berzerk does everything Cirque du Soleil does, but on a shoestring," wrote LA Observed in 2009. If there's less clown competition, better news for Cirque du Soleil, which start rehearsals at the Kodak Theater later this year? [US Bankruptcy Courts/filing on Scribd]"

Of so-called consumer reviews, I found a slew, average rating out of 5 stars: 3.9. Impressive, but let's look at the doubters, for they likely reveal reasons why the show is a goner:

Cirque Berzerk...Not so much.
Nokia Theatre @
- Los Angeles @
, CA @
Posted 02/18/2011
by Christophario
This Fan's Reviews This Fan's Reviews
"I was really excited to see this show at the Nokia. The theatre was great, the set was great, the costumes were great, but that was about it. They had all this potential to put on a great show, but it ended there. The storyline was ridiculous and very slow. At one point there was some weird gay love triangle story going on. I couldn't figure it out. The songs were disappointing. And there wasn't much circus involved. The best part were the hot trampoline guys. Other than that a total snooze. Sorry Cirque Berzerk."

"That's sad. They had a really great show. It was more fun in the tent in 2009. This go around the show didn't change much at all which was great in that the show was great but bad in that it could have been fun to see something new."

"had gone twice before but skipped this year because of the move from LA Historic State Park to Nokia Theater. The tickets at new location were more expensive and the idea of having it at Nokia makes it seem intimate. Didn't feel like a fun, interactive experience, just some event where you're the audience and the show is outside of your reach. Wasn't into it.

Now that I hear they didn't add change much just makes me glad I didn't spend the extra money to see the same show in a less fun setting."

Back to SD:

When this AM I began the search, my brain hosted a thought: If they are so good, why so few dates in L.A.? And why, NOW, none up front? Must mean they are not doing well.

Sometimes, your most obvious thoughts are spot on. Life can be remarkably simple to figure out.


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