Arts Reviews

Cirque Du Soleil: Varekai @ Motorpoint Arena

Cirque Du Soleil is a world-renowned entertainment company, and they certainly didn’t disappoint with this spectacular production. Attracting all ages alike, the show is thrilling, action-packed and truly magical. Not one to miss!

Based in Quebec, Canada, Cirque Du Soleil is the largest theatrical producer in the world. From Michael Jackson to the Beatles, they have covered all terrains of the showbiz world. This show, in particular, is incredibly unique and enchanting. Set within a mystical forest named Varekai, the performance bursts with charming characters, vibrant costumes and extraordinary talent.

The story is based on a Greek myth and follows Icarus, a young man who tumbles from the sky having lost his wings. He falls in love with a rural princess, and they eventually get married after she emerges from a cocoon suspended from the ceiling. Alongside this plotline, the show features a comedy duo who interact with the audience in a slapstick routine, adding some light-hearted humour.

“There were many new and innovative elements”

The show both conforms to and breaks traditional ideas of the circus, for example, the conventional role of the clown-like figures who tease the audience in an exaggerated manner. However, there were many new and innovative elements, such as the live vocalists and musicians who were active participants in the story. This mix of old and new conventions helps Cirque Du Soleil to appeal to a hugely wide audience, engaging the whole family.

“The different elements of the stage helped to facilitate the constant movement of the performers”

The staging of the show was especially impressive and visually stunning, with climbable trees towards the rear of the stage, a balcony dangling from the ceiling of the arena, and the main stage area hosted a series of trap doors. This stage set-up was reinforced by the simple use of lighting, with the combination of green and red lights used to contrast the fantastical creatures with the human characters. The different elements of the stage helped to facilitate the constant movement of the performers on and off stage. As well as this, the staging was highly effective because it focused the attention of the audience on the activity of the exuberant characters.

“Cirque Du Soleil is known for travelling worldwide”

One significant advantage of this production is that it can be enjoyed universally due to the lack of a distinct language.  Cirque Du Soleil is known for travelling worldwide to perform to millions of people, therefore their shows have an ability to be understood by all. There was limited dialogue within the show, instead focusing on hyperbolic movements to portray interaction between characters. Despite this, there were certain elements that were tailored towards a specifically British audience, in this case with the insult ‘daft bugger’!

“The acrobatic elements were definitely the stand-out aspect of the show”

As can be expected with this type of performance, the acrobatic elements were definitely the stand-out aspect of the show. What wasn’t expected, however, was the huge variety of different circus acts, including juggling sticks, aerial straps, trapeze and the cyr wheel. The finale, with an exhilarating routine using Russian swings, was a fantastic climax to the story, showing the celebration of the marriage between Icarus and his princess.

Although the circus acts were the main focus of the show, these were incorporated into the narrative and didn’t divert from the storyline. The various acts were based on specific characters, helping to guide the audience without the use of dialogue. Although there was often a busy stage with lots of action, each act was separate and distinct, concentrating on their position and function within the narrative.

“The show was overwhelmingly dynamic”

Varekai is an endearing story which is highly suited to a circus performance. The show was overwhelmingly dynamic, which is down to the utterly skilful cast and crew. So, whilst there is the opportunity to experience Cirque Du Soleil right here in Nottingham, we would very much recommend that you do so!

10/10 – Utterly faultless

Sophie Hunt and Emma Heasman

Image courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil and the Motorpoint Arena.

‘Cirque Du Soleil: Varekai’ is running at the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham until Sunday 12th March. For more information, and to book tickets, see here.

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One Comment
  • m_zimmerman
    17 June 2017 at 03:23
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