How do you define something that's part circus, part theatre, part Las Vegas spectacular, part concert and part performance art? It's hard, but then if you could define Cirque du Soleil in any conventional terms it wouldn't be as incredible. It's something that words do not do justice, and which truly has to be seen to be believed. Like all live productions, it is best when seen in person, but the video of Quidam is an acceptable substitute for the real thing. It captures the spirit of the production admirably, as well as the dreamlike quality inherent in all Cirque shows.
There is some shadow of a story in this particular production involving the journey of a lonely and bored little girl, but the real reason to watch is the artistry of the performers. The individual acts are all astonishing. A personal favorite of mine is the German Wheel, involving a single acrobat whirling across the stage in a large metal contraption (be sure to get a good look at this guy's face; that is the expression of a man who loves his job). The Aerial Contortion is another standout, both beautiful and painful to watch as a woman twists and writhes while suspended above the audience by a length of red silk. A highlight among the group acts is Banique, a troupe of acrobats leaping through the air propelled and caught solely by their teammates. And as with all circuses, there are clowns--strange, surreal, and occasionaly disturbing clowns, but funny nonetheless.
The original score was composed by Benoit Jutras, and is one of the best soundtracks written for a Cirque production (Jutras' daughter plays and sings the role of the young girl). The music, along with the brilliant lighting and whimsical costumes, combine with the performers to make Quidam an unforgettable experience.
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