REVIEW: Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

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CIRQUE du Soleil’s Alegria transports you to an alternative fairytale world of colour and excitement where public transport like buses and the Metro system are shunned in favour of propelling bodies through air at 100mph on bungee ropes and trampolines.

Late for work? Grab the 8.20 trapeze into town. Stuck for a lift to the gym? Here, I’ll bounce you there on 15ft planks of bendy wood!

No one does the circus like Cirque du Soliel, and its latest offering, Alegria, is a welcome return to form.

A feast for the eyes it most certainly is. Every character on stage is decked out in ludicrously ornate costumes. Anything goes. I felt there was a particular emphasis on false noses this year, followers of circus fashion take note.

What was lacking in storyline was made up for in pomp and more than a fair share of humour. Between feats of incredible daring and physical prowess and flexibility we were treated to the antics of the resident clowns – or, as the Cirque officianadoes would call them, ‘philosophers of absurdity.’

They are an aquired taste, but the audience seemed to love them.

Where Cirque excels, however, is in the white-knuckle acts.

The tumbling Power Track performance saw characters criss crossing the stage on two trampoline runways, flinging themselves like rag dolls in the air but landing featherlike on their toes.

The Russian Bars were equally impressive, with peformers bouncing high into the sky from thin planks of wood suspended across the shoulders of their colleagues.

Even the contortionists had the audience gasping. My son informed me that they could bend their bodies that far because “they’d had operations to remove parts of their spine.” What, and replaced with rubber? On watching them, it was a plausible explanation.

Other peformers, with names that read like rejected Marvel superheroes (Flying man and Fire Knife Dance man to name but two), put on a great show, but it was the aerial high bar acrobats who closed the show in style.

Thanks to Hollywood CGI, we not only believe that a man can fly, but its commonplace to see him fly throught the window of a collapsing skyscraper while fighting a 15-eyed fire-breathing alien.

Watching men, and women, fly in real life is a whole different ball game. Incredible. Which just about sums up the whole Alegria experience.