My backstory with Varekai is certainly odd, to say the least. As I wrote a few years ago, I missed their first European tour and the respective dates in Germany. I was doing tradeshow work in Düsseldorf when they were in Berlin (back then the closest location, since they didn’t stop over in Leipzig) and after I returned, they moved exactly where I had just left. Go, figure! If you ever plan on writing a tragic comedy, there’s certainly an idea there. Anyway, sometime’s you’re lucky and life gives you second chances, so I finally had an opportunity and got to see the performance yesterday.
As a fan of Le Cirque I’m naturally biased and enjoy most of what they do, but it’s really hard to find much fault with Varekai. Perhaps one could criticize the overly long comedic interludes with the Skywatcher and Guide characters, and perhaps one could, like a regional newspaper did, bemoan the absence of a really wowing new, big act, but for me it’s actually one of the most enjoyable shows in a “pure fun” sense. It doesn’t have the slightly abstract and surreal backstory like Quidam or Corteo that make it hard to understand some subtexts as the show progresses, nor has it the somewhat artificial and baroque qualities of again Corteo and Alegria.
As such it’s really a pleasure to behold. The costumes are colorful and even flamboyant and if you look at the acts with an artistic eye, you can still appreciate the acrobatics, dancing and gymnastics even without a big trapeze number. Speaking of which, as a gay person I couldn’t help but be totally fascinated by some guys in their tight costumes. Talk about nice butts! I certainly wouldn’t send some of those cuties away if they rang my doorbell. ;-) It also made me realize how young some of them are, now that my 40+1 birthday is only a few days away…
I also think I missed my opportunity for my 5 minutes of fame this time around. Sadly, as I feared, the dry air-conditioned climate didn’t sit well with my lungs and I was coughing a lot. Not only was this totally embarrassing and awkward, but sitting in the front row I couldn’t help but feel that the comedian and his comedienne hat their eye on me for their fun act and only veered away because I was coughing so hard. :-( I certainly wouldn’t have minded making a fool out o myself otherwise. Luckily they found another guy and thankfully he was equally easy about being exposed, so everyone had fun (often people are so terribly stiff, they can completely ruin such a thing).
Overall it was a very satisfying evening and despite my health issues I thoroughly enjoyed it. As long as it’s around, you should take the opportunity to go and see it. Regrettably, the Cirque seems to be more and more focused on producing “exclusive” stationary shows at fixed venues like holiday resorts, casinos and on Broadway and in favor of those keeps culling their travelling shows, so it will get ever more difficult to actually get to enjoy the Cirque experience.