Cirque du Soleil: Quidam at the Royal Albert Hall
A circus unlike any other, Cirque du Soleil is back in town with the new weird and wacky world of Quidam. Staged in the round, this is an effective and exciting production. Opening with a warm and humorous skit with the mime-like ringmaster, this show tells the story of a young girl who enters a dream-like state, wondering at the feast of eccentricity unfolding around her.
Above all, what these performers embody is the unbelievable strength and imagination of this long-standing troupe. Cory Sylvester’s German wheel act beggars belief, twisting and turning with all the dexterity of a spider. The music, led by Jim Bevan, is tense and atmospheric throughout – one of the great things about this show.
Talent is in abundance here, you can’t take your eyes off the stage. Amid an explosion of light, colour and costumes is a tangle and writhing of bodies. The terrifying and defiant aerial contortion in red silk by Julie Cameron defines the first act, causing the audience to gasp and whimper at the risk. These are unimaginable feats of strength and control – the bodies are as tight as the choreography.
There is no denying the skill or vision of this grounded and powerful production but the story is somewhat lost. Yet it doesn’t need one – you’re here to marvel at the acrobatics. The second half is fantastic; the Spanish webs are dramatic and sensual, and the statue, performed by Yves Decoste and Valentyna Sidenko, has the crowd whooping in delight.
At times frustratingly bizarre, this show touches on many elements of human emotion. There are melancholy moments but they’re touching, and the audience is moved by the obvious dedication of these performers to their craft. The best act of the night is the hysterically funny clown cinema skit from Toto Castiñeiras that draws in audience members to embarrassing effect. Busy and funny, this is a show for children and adults alike.
Don’t ask too many questions, just see this show. There are not enough adjectives to describe Quidam – a triumph of minds and bodies.
Cirque du Soleil: Quidam is at the Royal Albert Hall until 16th February 2014. For further information or to book visit Cirque du Soleil’s website here.