Review: Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai

Yes, the tickets were eye-wateringly expensive: so they were a Christmas present from the grandparents. Yes, Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena is a grim, soulless, corporate echo chamber of misery: but it means that shows of this scale can at least come to the city. So yes, I was already less than well-disposed towards this show, but as my first experience of Cirque du Soleil and the Montreal-based company’s first visit to Newcastle in several years… well, it felt crazy not to.

The verdict is hardly original. Skill level: top du top, especially the aerialists, hand-balancers and clowns (yay, clowns!). Costumes, sets, props: grand and colourful. Narrative: barely perceptible; something about creatures living on the floor of a tropical forest, and an angelic figure who falls wounded into their midst. Overall: a damn fine show. But would I shell out the same amount of money to see it again (as many people do)? Ummm… not sure. The acts and performers were wonderful, but so far away that it felt impossible to be entranced in the way that I surely should have been. I love watching circus so much that to have to experience it from such a distance is almost saddening – I want to really see the people performing those incredible feats. Maybe the answer might be better seats – or a better venue. If I can afford it…

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