Published 19:40 on 13 January, 2007

Last night I went to see Cirque du Soleil perform “Alegria”, their new show, at the Royal Albert Hall.

It was my mother-in-law’s birthday; but we hadn’t told her where we were going so, when her and Meeg turned up outside my office late yesterday afternoon, she was none-the-wiser. When I finally made it downstairs to the street, they were both clearly very excited (although I’m not sure whether that was due to what might be coming or the fact that they’d just spent 5 or 10 minutes staring into the window of Angels’ Fancy Dress shop).

We all decided we were pretty hungry so I took them to Govinda’s Krishna Restaurant on Soho Street, because the mother-in-law is vegetarian. Govinda’s is an excellent place to eat whether you’re veggie or not - in fact, I’d actually had lunch there with Stuart and Tristan earlier in the day. The food is fantastic Indian vegetarian fare and the prices are ridiculously low. In all honesty, I can’t recommend it enough!

Once we’d finished our meal, we still had some time to waste so I took them on a leisurely stroll down Shaftesbury Avenue to Piccadilly Circus. We then continued our meanderings down Piccadilly past Fortnum & Mason’s (who happen to have a cool “Alice in Wonderland” themed window display at the moment) and The Ritz (considering how expensive their hotel is, you’d think the website would be better eh?).

It was at this point that I realised we’d become one of those groups of people I so despise when I’m in a rush to get to the station after a long day’s work. You know; the ones who wander aimlessly clogging up the pavement. At this revelation (and also since my pregnant wife was getting a little tired), I hailed a cab and we whisked the mother-in-law off to the Albert Hall.

Once we’d found our seats in the circle, we settled in for an excellent show - although sadly, the back parts of the stage were somewhat obscured from our view. However, this didn’t spoil the show too much and certainly didn’t hinder our enjoyment.

I’d never seen Cirque du Soleil before and was quickly dazzled by their fantastic costumes and orchestration. The line-up included some excellent clowns, an aerial high bar, tumblers (who used a really cool cross-shaped trampoline called a “Power Track” to enhance their flips and leaps), a hand-balancer, fire-jugglers, a flying-man (a guy on a bungie-cord), russian bars, manipulation, contortion and a synchronised trapeze. Their website has plenty of information about the acts in the show.

We thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend anyone else to go see it. I have read reviews that say it’s nothing new if you’ve seen Cirque du Soleil before - so as newcomers, we might just be dazzled by their grace, acrobatics and skill.

All in all, it was an excellent night and the mother-in-law appreciated it greatly.