Below the lanky but sturdy tree trunks, amid the organized chaos of colorful creatures engaging in hora-like dance and acrobatic splendor enters Icarus, a winged man who descends from the sky.
He falls into the forested land known as Varekai, and appears lifeless as he lay on stage while being prodded by curious natives. Icarus is stripped of his wings as if they are his identity, symbolic of his starting anew in an unfamiliar place. He embarks on a journey to learn about himself and about the world. With the help of a guide who seemingly taunts him for his new, wingless existence, Icarus wanders on a path to discovery. And with him, the audience explores Varekai too.
Among the encountered are an amphibian-esque female and a clan of whimsical critters who bend and intertwine their bodies like river reeds. A baton twirler, a swarm of bouncing gymnasts and a collection of fearless stuntmen catapulting from self-propelled swings leave no stone unturned.
The show subsides from its grandeur with an intentionally subpar magician and his clumsy sidekick, who enlist the help of an audience member for some comic relief.
After making a spectacle of failed tricks, the magician concedes, and we are met once again with the twisty, apparently spineless inhabitants of Varekai.
Each Cirque du Soleil performance would be incomplete without its fair share of hand balancing, trapeze work and the kind of crazy contortionism that makes your knees quiver a little as you wonder how it is humanly possible for someone to move his body in such unparalleled pretzel fashion—and Varekai is no exception.
Varekai opened at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway in Sunrise, on Aug. 12 and runs through Aug. 23. Tickets cost $40-$145. For information, call 954/835-8000 or visit thebbtcenter.com.