Party Of The Week: A snowy night with Cirque du Soleil

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The Independent Culture

The opera diva Katherine Jenkins and her dancing beau, Gethin Jones, television presenter Chris Tarrant and fashion designer Matthew Williamson were among the varied guests who braved the snow to walk up the green carpet for the London premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai at the Royal Albert Hall this week.

The Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who was towered over by his Brazilian girlfriend, Fabiana Flosi, an F1 motor-racing executive, kept a low profile away from the other celebrities who attended the pre-show drinks reception on the sixth floor. Many of the guests complained of being out of breath and asked for oxygen masks once they had made it up the many flights of stairs to the red-themed VIP area at the top of the hall.

Joanna Lumley arrived with her family, including her granddaughters, who perused the brightly coloured Varekai costumes and traditional Cirque du Soleil masks on show in cabinets. Other guests included the celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, the former Rolling Stones' bass guitarist Bill Wyman and the Spooks star Hermione Norris, as well as the singer Rachel Stevens, who enjoyed the breathtaking views down to the stage from the open balcony.

The X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon, joined by fellow contestant Lucie Jones and wearing a cream chiffon mini-dress, was so busy chatting to fans that she missed both the start of the show and the beginning of the second half after the interval.

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