My love of erotic aerialists began when I was 10 and at the circus was plucked from the audience to ride bareback around the ring.

The safety harness suddenly lifted me swinging to the roof of the tent, my pants fell to my ankles and everyone applauded. Sexually I’ve never been the same since.

This childhood feat though is nothing next to the two feathered gay gods who fly through the air shadowing each other’s every movement in Cirque du Soleil.

Or the balletic agility of Icarus, the mythical boy who flew too close to the Sun, here descending to us, beating his wings or later erotically entwined in a swinging net.

With Varekai, their fourth show to tour Australia, Cirque du Soleil create an astonishingly costumed total world -“ a medieval goblin-esque time populated by brightly garbed reptilian creatures.

Slender tree trunks reach high to the top of the tent, to a platform atop a jumble of rough-cut stairs. From here Icarus descends to teach the tribes how to fly -“ but that’s about it for the story.

The design aesthetic, the creation of this remarkable world, not the slender plot, is what links this display of circus skills. What impresses most about Cirque du Soleil is this choreographic theatricality with which they present their often traditional circus skills.

Icarus eventually falls for a fabulous tiny contortionist who can put any part of herself anywhere. From the same rubber-spined family are the Triple Trapeze artists and the outstanding Juggler who takes old tricks to new heights.

The cast is as international as the Euro gibberish they mumble, although hefty Russians dominate with acts like the Georgian Dancers and their vaulting leaps from swings.

Also memorable are three tiny Asian boys who hurl ropes high in the air, miss them sometimes, but are cute as buttons.

Some acts slump, like the magician and the clowning, and are in need of further reinvention.

We are happy to say goodbye to the old exotic animals but there is something mass-produced about this designer circus, especially when its pace and storyline both wander. It’s then you miss the improvised poverty and homespun cheekiness of the old-style circus.

Cirque du Soleil is truly transporting but -¦ perhaps I’m just sorry they didn’t drag me up to fly high with their gods.

Varekai from Cirque du Soleil is at the Showring, Moore Park, until 8 October.

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