Seeing Double

The Atherton Twins in Varekai
The Atherton Twins in Varekai

They soared above us, their chiseled bodies flowing through the air like sleek sharks quickly moving through water.

I was awestruck; I think we all were. At Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai”, all heads aimed upwards as the Atherton twins performed their infamous aerial strap act.




For our anniversary, Noel shouted us tickets to “Varekai”. We’d seen “Quidam” two years earlier at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland after becoming fans by watching any Cirque du Soleil DVD we could get our hands on. To be honest, “Varekai” remained one of my more favourite Cirque shows, so when we heard it was coming to Auckland, Noel eagerly bought tickets.

James, Jacqui, Don and Soni accompanied us (see Noel’s blog for more information on that), and, in anticipation, we’d even shown James and Jacqui both the “Varekai” and “The Fire Within” DVDs. (For those of you who don’t know, “The Fire Within” chronicles several performers in their journey to make the final cut of “Varekai”.)

I admit, I thought the Atherton twins — Kevin and Andrew — were both very fine specimens of manhood. It would be wrong to think otherwise. The two could very easily find their way onto an Abercrombie and Fitch advertisement with no problem. Hell, they were the faces of the “Varekai” show, emblazoned on every poster and publicity shot to be found.

But as “The Fire Within” DVD progressed I discovered something totally different: how professional those two were for the most part. (Some of the others were professional too… don’t get me wrong. But if you’ve seen the DVD, you can tell the twins are several steps ahead of the rest.) They got in and did what’s required. Even when they felt their act, spruced up by a famous choreographer on crutches, might suffer, they performed it with 110% in front of the remainder of the group (most of who were struggling with their acts at the time). Their boss and the head honchos all loved it; so the twins performed it in that matter, not too proud to protest.

And it was that act we saw. The beautiful aerial ballet, a strap act, with two buff, beautiful twins, soaring through the air, making it look so easy and effortless, like the rest of us could do it too if we only tried.

I loved it. It was amazing. These two men I admired so much for their professional attitude — and I have to admit, it did challenge me in my own job to be more professional — for getting stuck in and giving 110%, even when they didn’t agree personally with the changes, and implementing them when the bosses liked it were performing their act, as they had for thousands before us, right above us with every ounce of freshness they performed it at their first live show.

And at the end, as on the DVD, they give each other an indescribable look, as if to say, We made it again… and they loved it!

Absolutely amazing!

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