Varekai – Cirque du Soleil at Leeds First Direct Arena – Review

This review was kindly written by Teresa Buckle for Yorkshire Wonders. Cirque du Soleil are touring again in 2018 with Ovo – click to see all the dates.

Cirque du Soleil is touring the UK at the moment with its latest show Varekai. The show follows a loose story of Icarus who early in the show flies too close to the sun and burns his wings. He falls to the forest floor and is surrounded and ultimately helped by the strange and wonderful creatures below.
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Completely different circus experience

This was completely different to my last circus experience when the animals made me sneeze so much that I had a nosebleed, that was a long long time ago.
There are no animals at all in this circus, but a large team of totally dedicated and committed people from all around the world. The whole show was an amazing spectacle of colour and lights with live music and the performers all wore stunning costumes and make up. The clever stage lights set the scene at the start of the show and the performances from the acrobats throughout the show was breath taking, at times we were literally sat on the edge of our seats.
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Clever lighting and scenery

There were acts that I remember from years gone by such as the baton twirler and the absolutely stunning swirling Russian dancers, there were tumblers flying through the air but these were nothing like I have seen before. With Varekai, no-one put a foot wrong, everything was very fast paced with so much going on, on stage. The costumes the music and the lighting added to and enhanced each and every act and created an exciting atmosphere.

The trapeze scenes had us holding our breaths as the performers put on an unbelievable aerial display without any safety wires or nets. The strength and fitness of all the performers has my utter admiration and respect. My favourite acts were the balancing contortionist … I still don’t know how she did what she did, and also the Russian swings at the end of the show…I have seen this before but not with such flair, speed and jaw dropping precision.
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There was one element of the show that I did not enjoy. There was a man and a lady who I initially thought were the warm up act, which interacted with the audience and were silly and slapstick. This I could have lived with but they did keep popping up throughout the show, I suppose taking on the comedic role of the traditional clown. I did not feel that the show needed this repeated punctuation and that the performance stood way above this but perhaps that was just my lack of humour. The acrobats were fantastic. I loved the costumes and I still can’t believe the Aerial performances.
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Varekai Review- Amazing show

I am still amazed at what unfolded before my eyes and would definitely recommend this to friends. The tickets were not cheap and I think I would wait till my children are older to pay the price of their tickets. I wondered what they would make of the show, Varekai was totally amazing but I suppose they are used to amazing being brought up in our world of special effects and CGI. This was real, real people doing amazing things.
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First Direct Arena Leeds

I was very impressed with my first visit to the First Direct Arena in Leeds which was a great venue with plenty of toilet facilities and refreshment booths. The staff were really friendly and helpful. You could also take a private box if your budget permitted. The arena was easy to find and lots of parking in Leeds so I will definitely visit this venue again. We chose one of the local restaurants to enjoy lunch before our matinee performance.

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