Monday, June 9, 2014


With magic and mystery, you will be swept into the exotic and enticing world of "Varekai," one of the many fantastic realms created by Cirque du Soleil.  Since 1984, when Cirque du Soleil was a small, struggling troupe of street performers in Quebec on stilts, juggling and performing music, it now entertains millions each year with its 19 different shows, imaginative acts that wow and amaze around the world. Now it is Hartford 's turn to present "Varekai", from Wednesday, June 11 to Sunday, June 15 at the XL Center.

"Varekai" will encourage you to enter a strange and bizarre world that will stun and astound you, astonish and excite you.  Even before the show begins, a pair of clowns, Steve and Joanna, dressed in red garb, and brandishing a whistle and a wand, will polish bald heads and frisk unsuspecting patrons.  Their antics will delight your sense of fun.  Don't be surprised if you're invited to dance or have a few personal items secretly removed from your person.

Watch creepy crawly creatures emerge onto the stage as if the forest is exploding right before your eyes.  As the land awakens, you will spy royal creatures in purple who will sing unique songs to accompany the feats of daring, a peach centipede, an inventor/weatherman, the Skywatcher, with a magic cart and a kaleidoscope of wild and weird insects that twirl and twist, spin and tumble.

Into their midst falls Icarus, a young man whose wings of white fail to keep him aloft.  His snowy feathers are soon stolen by the black garbed Guide and quickly Icarus is trapped in a mesh net that sends him swirling into the sky, tumbling and twisting in agile and graceful moves. Once back safely on earth, Icarus encounters an intriguing green creature destined to be his Betrothed, and they begin an adventure together.

Soon the stage is filled with strolling musicians, leaping red clad dancers, the Georgian troupe, amazing tumblers dressed like gold warriors, an aerialist in winter white splendor and a succession of wood nymphs and sprites. Suddenly a magician and his assistant appear with their dancing dog and Steve and Joanna are back in the spotlight.

In Act II, the forest landscape expands to include a night sky alive with firefly lights, underwater creatures who perform a graceful ice dance under the sea, a man who manipulates on crutches, the muscular strength of two men bound only by twin leather straps, a girl twirling silver batons, a diamond dusted lady walking on canes and a troupe of tumblers who successfully defy gravity.

"Varekai" is a Romany word that means "wherever" and now it conjures up gypsies and nomads and wanderers who live in an unknown world of mystery as created, written and directed  by Dominic Champagne.  Here 50 performers from 18 countries wear 600 costumes and astonish 1000's of times. For tickets ($35-145), call 877-522-8499 or online at  Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a late matinee at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Count yourself among the millions, an estimated 150 million, who will witness the magical circus show that is Cirque du Soleil.

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