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Saturday, April 8, 2006

Two thumbs up for "Varekai"

"Varekai," the Cirque du Soleil show currently playing in the big tent under the Marquam Bridge just south of downtown Portland, is a winner. For a road version of the time-worn Cirque formula, it went well beyond our expectations. The performers are first-rate, and they are surrounded with exactly the right amount of the schmaltz and schtick that this company is known for.

A few years back, we saw "Dralion," and were disappointed. But this is a much brighter and more coherent show. There is joy in all the acts, and the clowns are funny. Luckily, some friends invited my daughter and me to join them, when we otherwise would have passed. It would have been a shame to miss it.

Oh, and if you've never been to Cirque du Soleil, you may not know what the human body is capable of until you go.

Comments (6)

"you may not know what the human body is capable of until you go"

True: those seats are narrow, hard and close together!

If you don't mind me asking, in what section were you seated? I'm planning on taking my lady as a surprise and was wondering if it was worth springing for the pricier seats?

By me, all the sightlines seem good. My family was in the . . . relatively . . . expensive seats, close to the stage but on the side. It doesn't seem to matter if you're farther back, the way the show's presented everybody gets a good look. You might, though, want to consider the super-pricey Tapis Rouge for easier access to a toilet at intermission.

We were fairly high up, but in the center section, and it was fine. We had done the VIP thing last time, and it was nice, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra dough.

Males will have no problem with the lavatory setup, but for females, that's all you'll get to do during intermission. However, even with two 5-year-old girls in tow, we got a bathroom break and didn't miss a thing.

One other thought: It was surprisingly hot in there. Dress in layers.

I made the mistake of splurging for great seats: dead center, 5 or 6 rows from the stage. Midway through the show the magician's lady helper came bouncing up our row doing goofy things to the patrons on the way up, ran by us, turned around, grabbed me and drug me up on stage. You get a good five minutes on stage. If your lady's like mine she'll love the treatment you get--mine nearly wet her pants she found it so amusing. Can't say I felt that was worth the extra dough ;)

I believe Jack was mostly referring to the contortionist, a young woman who must be made completely of some kind of miracle plastic. There are positions she assumed--all while standing on one hand on a small block of wood balanced on a metal rod--that for the average person are impossible to imagine, let alone attempt.

On the other hand, a lot of it looked like fun. Especially the catapulting at the end.

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