BWW Review: CIRQUE DU SOLEIL's VAREKAI in Texas
Cirque du Soleil closes one of its longest running tours, Varekai, this month right here in north Texas. I was able to catch the show in Fort Worth last week, and as my first Cirque show, it did not disappoint.
Varekai has told the story of what happens after Icarus falls out of the sky (per the classic myth) for over 15 years now. The show begins with the aerialist Icarus falling from the sky, landing among some mystical world of tropical animals and acrobats. In his fall, he injures himself and has to learn how to walk, falls in love with a mysterious, caterpillar-like contortionist, and eventually marries happily. Not going to lie - I had to look up what the plot was supposed to be. I guess that's sort of the Cirque M.O. though, it's less plot and more pieces strung together to fit a central theme. There are hints of plot, but that's not why you go to a Cirque show; you go to see the tricks.
Before I go on, an open question (and please feel free tolet me know in the comments): what is the etiquette for applause at a Cirque show? Often in theatre, there are distinct moments when one applauds (at the end of a movement or piece, often signaled by the musician or the dancer), but Cirque seems to stand alone in their own realm. Do you applaud for particularly interesting moves, or does the audience wait 'til the end of the piece? It certainly seems like the former is commonplace, but in some of the more delicate acts it felt rude to applaud while performers were still moving?
Anyway, for my first indulgence into Cirque du Soleil territory, Varekai was certainly fun. The aerialists and acrobats in particular are a favorite, as was the inclusion of Georgian dancers. And of course, the show ended with the famous image of the Russian Swings that we all associate with the company. If anything was off, it was only that the space of the Fort Worth Convention Center seemed a bit too large and vacuous for the show on a surprisingly intimate stage. Nonetheless, families in particular will love the colors, audience-involved-clowning, and some truly gorgeous lighting. For DFW locals, go see Varekai now before it retires forever. I have little too compare it too, but it's a unique experience that won't be around much longer. And per expectation, the technical skill of the performers of all kind is crazy - these are truly athlete/artists at the peak of their craft.
Cirque du Soleil's Varekai ends its long tour life next week in Frisco, running through December 23rd at the Dr. Pepper Arena. Check out https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/varekai for tickets and information.