Updated: Thursday, 21st August 2014 @ 6:17pm

Review: Cirque du Soleil's Alegría debuted in Manchester in a charming affair of 'entertainment perfection'

Review: Cirque du Soleil's Alegría debuted in Manchester in a charming affair of 'entertainment perfection'

By Dean Wilkins

Cirque du Soleil’s simply scintillating Alegría show shone in Manchester on Wednesday – leaving faces beaming and the audience craving more.

The internationally celebrated creative force debuted Alegría in the Manchester Arena as part of their UK tour, having wowed over 100million people worldwide since launching in Quebec in 1994.

As young and old filtered into the venue, the night began with the perfect hors d'oeuvre of quirky clowns causing mischief among the audience.

Adults were dragged onto their feet to dance and children were amused by the delightfully hand-crafted costumes and giddiness.

The many dimensions and dexterity of Alegría is crafted from 55 performers and musicians from 18 countries and showcases breathtaking acrobatics intertwined with heart-warming humour and wit.

As a vintage ringmaster took charge of the rowdy clowns, the evening reached another floor of brilliance as the exceptional orchestra of gothic jesters delivered the perfect partner in music to accompany trampoline-ing artistes.

Artistes from Olympic-winning backgrounds and lives of dedication to achieving the best are the key to the show’s character.

Anything but the best is not good enough as the performers self critique their routine backstage during the show; this approach to entertainment is wonderful.

As the act moved from the daring to the downright deranged, the sectors were broken up superbly by the return of the enchanting clowns. They captured the essence of youth charmingly in a brotherly relationship throughout.

A bashful horse, conflict over paper planes and jealousy over the professional performers was expertly executed, genuinely funny and received rapturous applause from the crowd.

The other side of the Cirque du Soleil coin was gorgeously choreographed sequences of gymnastics, synchronised high-rope elegance, a duo of can’t-help-but-watch contortionists and the most outstanding use of a giant hula hoop.

The bespoke music escorted the evening along caringly as a powerful singer in an epoch ballroom gown delved into French harmonies of the early 1900s – magnifique.

The final showdown of eight acrobats swinging without safety harnesses 60 feet in the air, with only metal bars and each other’s forearms preventing a crowd-crashing fall, was horrifically transfixing. The execution of each triple-twist-quadruple-flip was outstanding, and fully deserved of a five-minute applause.

The concept of Alegría is remarkable. To produce it in the real-world is a result of some of the world’s best entertainers, artistes and energies combining to deliver entertainment perfection. This circus is one parents would be proud to have their children run away to.

Simply unmissable.