I've been to many a performance of Gerry Cottle's, John Lawson's, the Chinese State, Moscow State & other circus shows. But this was my first experience of Cirque Du Soleil & it was easily the best performance I have ever seen.

Right from the start the impression is set for a grand spectacle. The first catering tent is larger than most companies' main tent & the main tent seats a massive 2500 people & even though our seats were in the back row we could all clearly see the stage. The stage itself is a highly versatile & technically advanced set up. The main performance space revolves & contains trap doors while above it all arcs a huge bridge spanning from backstage over the roof of the tent & into the back of the audience. The bridge is made of several tracks on which run little cars that are used to great effect in the show to bring on & off aerial acts & various characters smoothly & cleanly.

The show starts with one of the shows many colourful characters walking around the crowd & picking on members of the audience, he brilliantly took the tickets of two unsuspecting punters from one of the ushers & lead them round pretending to be looking for their seats, it wasn't until he got them on stage that they realised what was going on.

From then on the show continues with immaculate presentation. Everything happens so smoothly, when one act finishes the other has already started, but the change is timed to allow enough time for the audience to applaud. There is always that little bit more happening too, dancers, jugglers, characters in colourful costumes all fill voids that would normally remain empty.

The soundtrack was extremely impressive. All of the music was performed by the live band & belted out through an excellent quality sound system. It seemed like the music played to the acts rather than the usual other way around. It all fitted together seemlessly, envoking true emotion in the audience.

The juggling act was superb although a little too short (but then I am of course a juggler), performing with football sized red balls he executed tricks that are difficult with normal sized beanbags. Body rolls featured heavily, he rolled them round his chest & over his back as if they were in grooves. My favourite bit was when he juggled one ball on his heels behind his back, closely followed by a three ball shower with chest rolls whilst bouncing a ball on his forehead. For his finale he juggled a cascade of five which rounded off an excellent performance containing only one fumble (which only a juggler would notice anyway).

There was also a beautifully choreographed & highly synchronised diabolo routine performed by four young girls from China. All danced & whipped in unison & performed synchronised sequences of tricks. The group really excelled at passing formations & acrobatics under high throws. There were somersaults from two person stacks, forward rolls underneath back flips & a superb exit from a three person pyramid. All of which has to be seen to be believed.

I was going to write a detailed review of every act but to coin a cliche, I wouldn't be able to do the show justice. The two statues performed feats of strength which at times I couldn't believe were real & the final act was the most impressive thing I have ever seen. I was overwhelmed, it was such a magical experience. I couldn't possibly heap enough praise on the show. I also really don't want to spoil the show for anyone who has yet to go & see it. As it is I hope this page serves as some sort of encouragement to those who haven't yet seen the show. Don't be deterred by the ticket prices or the distance needed to travel to see the show. It is well worth it, the show is an experience no other medium will ever come close to equalling.

Other shows I have seen by Cirque Du Soleil:

Visit www.cirquedusoleil.com for the latest show, tour & ticket information. There are also downloadable video clips from all of the company's shows, lots of wonderful pictures of the fantastic characters & much more.