Varekai impressions

Celebrations across the miles (aka Scotland) always lead to gift-giving dilemmas, especially when it involves wanting to please ten-year-olds. So for Christmas last year, having just seen “Kooza” in Brisbane, I bought my twin nephews (and thus their 40-year-old parents too) tickets to see the UK Arena Tour of “Varekai” (meaning ‘wherever’ in Romani language), Cirque du Soleil’s kid-friendly show about the destiny that awaits a reimagined Icarus when he falls from the sky into a lush forest full of exotic creatures. This is a review of the show from Matthew and Henry’s ten-year-old perspective.

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Varekai (Cirque du Soleil)

SSC Hydro, Glasgow

March 15 – 19

Before we went, we thought it would be clowns like a traditional circus, until we looked at the official trailer and then we thought it might be a bit creepy and weird because of the masks and costumes. We were excited but we didn’t know what to expect.

Before the show started, as we were going to our seats, there were clowns doing naughty things like dusting a bald man’s head and putting their arm around a girl in the audience. That was one of our favourite bits; it was hilarious. That was like a traditional circus, but the clowns’ magic, songs and tricks with the audience interrupted the main story. We liked this because it would have been boring to have just the same thing for the whole time.

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One of the first sections was where Icarus fell from a trapeze in the sky and landed in the forest. There were lots of other segments during the show, such as a girl who did a dance trapeze high in the air. There was also an awesome guy on crutches, the Limping Angel, who used them to swing about. He was so skilled sliding around the stage. And there were men who got inside big hoops and twisted around, which looked really hard.

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Our favourite part was the wedding scene finale when there was a trapeze act. They swung and jumped off the swings to do backflips, front flips and somersaults into two big nets at the back of the stage. They flew very high in the air and it was good to look at from every angle. It was worth waiting for and left us wanting more. All the performers were athletic and flexible like gymnasts; imagine if they were in the Olympics.

The costumes were unique, quirky and vibrant, especially Icarus’ impressive mythical wings; they were huge and when he landed, he did a good job of acting like a bird who had lost its wings. The clowns weren’t dressed as clowns which was good because it was not obvious what they are going to do. The music was dramatic and they used the whole space and stage, including the ceiling, to bring the audience into the story.

“Varekai” was magic and amazing; impressive is the word to describe all of it. We didn’t read about the story beforehand so during the first half we couldn’t really follow what was happening, but after mum showed us the summary on her phone at interval, it all made sense, especially because we already knew the story of Icarus. It would have been better if there was more speaking to explain the story. We’d go to another Cirque du Soleil show because “Varekai” was good and it was fun to watch and it would be good to see different tricks and performers.

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