Cirque du Soleil's Alegría: In a New Light – our Sussex columnist reviews the show at London's Royal Albert Hall

​It’s hard to put into words how incredibly excited I was to take my children to see Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría: In a New Light show being performed in London.
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​But given that this is a newspaper column – and expression in words is pretty much the only requirement – I’ll give it a go.

I first saw a Cirque du Soleil show when I was working for Walt Disney World in Orlando around 20 years ago. The show, called La Nouba, had and still has a permanent base at Disney’s food and entertainment area Disney Springs (previously Downtown Disney).

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A few friends had been and said it was incredible, so I booked tickets for my then boyfriend’s (now husband’s) birthday.

I didn’t really have much of an idea of what it would be like. I just assumed it would be a bit like the circuses I’d seen as a child.

But, wow, that was about as colossal an underestimation as you could get.

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Alegría: In a New Light. Picture: Anne-Marie Forker Photography (@forkerfotos on Instagram)Alegría: In a New Light. Picture: Anne-Marie Forker Photography (@forkerfotos on Instagram)
Alegría: In a New Light. Picture: Anne-Marie Forker Photography (@forkerfotos on Instagram)

Yes, a Cirque du Soleil show has elements that are reminiscent of the circuses of your childhood, but it’s so much more than that. The artistry, the imagination, the skill – everything about it is elevated about a million times beyond anything you’ve ever seen (unless you’ve been lucky enough to see a Cirque du Soleil show, that is!).

I was absolutely blown away by the level of skill on display. And I’ve been obsessed with Cirque ever since.

I have been lucky enough to see three more shows – KA in Las Vegas, and two other performances that toured to the Royal Albert Hall in London quite a few years ago. Each is just as good as the other, featuring world-class performers, acrobats and athletes, with incredible storytelling, top-notch live music, fantastic costumes and so much more.

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So, it was a dream-come-true to be invited back to the Royal Albert Hall with my family to see Alegría, one of Cirque’s original shows which has been reimagined for the 2020s.

The premise is that at the heart of a once-glorious kingdom that has lost its king, Alegría: In a New Light witnesses the power struggle at play between the old order and the youth in striving for hope and renewal.

As the court jester clumsily tries to take the throne, a growing desire for change emerges from the street to defy the status-quo and bring joy to the world.

It has a Grammy-nominated soundtrack, vibrant sets, playful humour creating a very immersive experience.

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It is on until March 3, and if there’s any possible way you can go, I’d urge you to book it! It’s just fantastic and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s been more than a decade since my last Cirque du Soleil experience, but it was every bit as good as I remembered. In fact, if it’s possible, it was probably better. I couldn’t take my eyes off the performers. They are so, so good – completely at the top of their game. The routines they create are exceptional. I loved every single one, but if I had to choose, the spectacle of the finale, with high-flying trapeze artists, possibly pips the others for the sheer danger of it.

What also helped to make this experience the best one yet was being able to take my children. My husband and I tried to explain to them what it was like, but I just don’t think they could grasp it until they’d seen it.

They were blown away just arriving at the Royal Albert Hall – a stunning venue in and of itself – but when the show got going they were both transfixed. It really is a feast for the eyes. None of us could fault anything about it, possibly only that it ended too soon – those two hours absolutely flew by!

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Alegría promises to whisk audiences away to a mystical world sprinkled with visual poetry and acrobatic extravagance and it certainly delivers.

And it works for all ages. I’m thrilled to have been able to pass the Cirque love onto my children, and can’t wait to take them to more shows in the future.

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