PREVIEW: Roll up, roll up for Cirque du Soleil's spectacular Varekai at Sheffield Arena

Bizarre fantastical creatures in Cirque du Soleil's spectacular Varekai, Tales of The Forest - at Sheffield Arena from Thursday to Sunday, February 2 to 5.
Bizarre fantastical creatures in Cirque du Soleil's spectacular Varekai, Tales of The Forest - at Sheffield Arena from Thursday to Sunday, February 2 to 5.

Super human acrobatics, juggling, contortion, balancing acts, spectacular colourful costumes, amazing sets and lots of clowning about...

Yes, Cirque du Soleil is back in town.

It plays five shows at Sheffield Arena from Thursday to Sunday, February 2 to 5.

BUY TICKETS: Tickets for Sheffield Arena are £47.25 to £61.60, including booking fees. Buy in person from the Arena box office, call 0114 256 5656 or visit www.sheffieldarena.co.uk
I caught up in Paris with the latest show - Varekai, Tales of The Forest - and left feeling like it really is the greatest show on Earth.

With it's outrageous costumes, turning its large cast of entertainers into bizarre fantastical creatures, set against an awe-inspiring backdrop of make believe forest tree-tops, this is a magical, kaleidoscopic visual treat from start to finish.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 160 million spectators in more than 400 cities in over 60 countries on all continents.

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organisation providing high-quality artistic entertainment.

The company has 4,000 employees, including more than 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.

It has a world wide reputation for putting on the best animal-free circus-themed shows on the planet, complete with modern-day clown-about humour.

And Varekai is as good as it gets.

Welcome to the world of Varekai, Tales of The Forest - the new Cirque du Soleil spectacular at Sheffield Arena

Welcome to the world of Varekai, Tales of The Forest - the new Cirque du Soleil spectacular at Sheffield Arena

Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world where anything is possible. Welcome to Varekai - pronounced ver·ay·’kie and said to translate as “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies.

Here the sky lets go a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins.

Parachuted into the shadows of the forest, a young man takes flight in an adventure both absurd and extraordinary, exploring the mysteries of the world and the mind.

Directed by Dominic Champagne, the production pays tribute to the nomadic soul and to the spirit and art of the circus tradition.

Super-human strength on show when the posh circus comes to town

Super-human strength on show when the posh circus comes to town

Yorkshire gymnast turned performer Emily McCarthy, aged 21, ran off to join the circus five years ago and is the only UK girl in the show,

Look out for her in the Slippery Surface Flyers scene, straight after the interval - one of the show's many highlights.

Emily, from Tingley, said: "I cant wait to come home. Any Cirque du Soleil is an amazing experience and Varekai is a great show. You are going to see acrobatics and performances you won't see anywhere else.

"There are 10 acrobats in my scene alone - it's very technical and precise. Then we put that on a slippery surface to make it even more difficult, representing an underwater scene. There's lots of contortion, strength and balancing, combined with dance and choreography."

BUY TICKETS: Tickets for Sheffield Arena are £47.25 to £61.60, including booking fees. Buy in person from the Arena box office, call 0114 256 5656 or visit www.sheffieldarena.co.uk

Yorkshire gymnast Emily McCarthy in Cirque du Soleil's spectacular Varekai, Tales of The Forest - at Sheffield Arena from Thursday to Sunday, February 2 to 5.

Yorkshire gymnast Emily McCarthy in Cirque du Soleil's spectacular Varekai, Tales of The Forest - at Sheffield Arena from Thursday to Sunday, February 2 to 5.