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Awe and wonder at Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil stage at Royal Albert Hall

We first went to a Cirque du Soleil show a few years ago (a birthday present from my husband) and I remember thinking I wasn’t really going to enjoy it that much as circus-style shows aren’t really my kind of thing. We saw Totem and we were both blown away by the production! So when my husband bought tickets to Amaluna, the latest show by Cirque du Soleil, for one of my Christmas presents for Thursday 21 January, I was delighted. It’s a long time to wait to enjoy a Christmas present but the wait was worth it!

The show is in the Royal Albert Hall, which is a magnificent venue and a British architectural icon. We started our evening with dinner at Coda – the fine dining restaurant within the Royal Albert Hall. It’s an elegantly decorated restaurant with fabulous food and really excellent service.

The menu is fairly small, with around six to eight choices each for starters, mains and desserts. I opted for chicken liver parfait with quince and toasted sourdough bread and my husband had the tomato compote salad with aubergine, hummus and an olive crumb, which was quite Moroccan in flavour.

Chicken liver parfait at Coda

Starter of chicken liver parfait with quince.

For mains I chose the lamb cutlets with roasted Jersey Royal potatoes, spinach, samphire and an amazing red wine jus. The cutlets were perfectly pink and succulent – delicious! My husband had the fillet of beef, served medium rare, with a truffle croquette, spinach, wild mushrooms and a Bourbon sauce.

Mains at Coda

Beef fillet and lamb cutlet mains from Coda.

We ordered our desserts to have during the interval, which is one of the things I love about dining at the venue – you don’t need to rush your meal.

It was time for the show

Amaluna is a love story, loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and takes place on an enchanted island filled with colourful creatures like peacocks and lizards. Miranda, the heroine, has just come of age in a magical ceremony which causes a storm. A group of sailors then wash-up on shore and a love story begins…

Clown at Cirque du Soleil

This show is mainly female in cast and in the first half you’re wowed by aerial acrobatics, balancing acts and trampolining. And of course there are always the clowns in between acts to keep you entertained whilst they set the stage.

During interval we returned to Coda to have our dessert. My husband had the Valrhona chocolate and Gianduja torte with blood-orange sorbet and a bitter sweet citric coulis.

Chocolate dessert from Coda

I chose the mango and passionfruit cheesecake with black olive ice-cream and quince, which was really unusual. I still can’t make my mind up whether I enjoyed the black olive ice-cream…. My dessert was presented as though it was a cheeseboard – it was such a fun-looking dish!

Mango and passionfruit cheesecake

After dessert, it was back to the show. There was a spectacular scene where the hero (the washed-up sailor who falls in love with Miranda) is trying to find her and there are some death-defying acrobatics on a pole.

I did love the show, although the story itself wasn’t as good as Totem. I do find the athleticism of these performers simply astounding. It’s true that the shows can seem quite similar in that you know what kind of acts to expect, however it’s still mesmerising. It’s really fast paced and you never find yourself getting restless or waiting for an interval. I’d definitely recommend going to a Cirque du Soleil show for a fun, exciting night out.

Cirque du Soleil cast

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.



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