REVIEW: Quidam a story for everyone
First, a confession.
I cannot tell you if the duplex trapeze segment in Quidam is good — unless you’ll accept an opinion based on what I heard from the audience around me during a show in Lethbridge KTW was invited to attend.
The reason is simple.
I can’t deal with heights — especially these kinds of heights.
When Stephanie Gasparoli started her acrobatics dozens of feet above the stage, my stomach flipped up and my eyesight was cast down.
All I can tell you is there were a lot of ohs and ahs and sustained applause when she finished.
But, then, that’s pretty commonplace when Cirque du Soleil performs — and Quidam is no exception.
The two-hour show starts with a premise most people can identify with — a little girl whose parents are so absorbed in their own worlds they don’t see their child.
So, Zoe (Alessandra Gonzalez, whose beautiful soprano voice you will hear singing throughout) creates her own world.
It’s a place ruled by a ringmaster unlike any you’ll find in traditional circuses. Mark Ward creates a character that is as much like a television personality as he is a guide.
He’ll take Zoe — and the audience — on a trip where she will meet a variety of characters with their own stories to tell.
And, they tell them with spectacular skill and energy.
From the Cyr wheel controlled by Eric Saintonge, the first act in the two-hour show, through to the final act, the Banquine and its 15 amazing athletes, Quidam is moment after amazing moment of stunning athletics, all set to beautiful music and smooth transitions through the imaginary world.
But, as with all circuses, there is much comedy that sees Toto Castineiras bringing audience members up to take part in some of the most hilarious skits you’ll see at a Cirque show.
My favourite moment of the many performances is the one called Statue, which comes midway through the second act.
Describing it is difficult — it has to be seen to be believed — but Cirque explains it this way:
“Never losing contact, two strong, flexible performers move almost imperceptibly, assuming positions impossible without an impeccable sense of balance.”
It is performed by its creator, Yves Decoste, and Valentyna Sidenko.
Another highlight is the third act, the aerial contortion in silk.
Two long pieces of red silk are brought on stage along the conveyor belt at the ceiling — and, suddenly, there is Tanya Burka wrapped in them, swinging, twisting, working with just fabric and plenty of air beneath her to create something beautiful.
The performers will stun you, but there’s so much more that happens in Quidam that may not be as obvious but is just as wonderful.
That includes the set designed by Michel Crete, the costumes created by Dominique Lemieux, even the lighting by Luc Lafortune — each plays a part that, when combined, creates simple magic.
I’ve seen several Cirque shows and this one isn’t my favourite — that remains Alegria — but it’s definitely one of the best they’ve done.
It has a clearer plotline than some Cirque shows and is much more family-friendly than some of the other shows.
Quidam opens tomorrow (Aug. 15) at Interior Savings Centre.
There are several performances through to Sunday, Aug. 19.