Cirque du Soleil – Quidam: a review

London ·

I feel like I’ve closed my eyes and opened them again, finding myself somewhere else. I’ve been to Royal Albert Hall before, but tonight there’s something more magical going on here: the Cirque is in town. Not a simple circus, but Cirque du Soleil.

I have to admit that, althought I am quite passionate about ‘cirque nouveau’ shows, having seen quite a few lately, I have never been to a Cirque show before (yeah, shame on me). It is the first time and I am pretty excited. Unfortunately, my (still expensive!) tickets are on the first floor circle, which means my view is a bit too much from the top. I feel it when the show begins and a. I can’t really see the face of the artists, b. I can’t even see some of them. I guess face expressions also play a big big part in this kind of show, so I start watching with a slight bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth and the long of sneaking downstairs unseen, maybe climbing down on one of the ropes hanging from the ceiling.

Well, let’s immediately say YES, I DID ENJOY THE SHOW. Still, there were some things I liked and some (few) I didn’t.

Let’s start with what I loved:

the aerial acts. I can’t help: I am so much into hoops and silks. It’s because I’m slightly masochistic: the least I feel I could be able do something, the more I love it. First there was a silk act: ten metres high red silks acrobatic bondage, how sexy can that possibly be? Then an amazing hoops act. I stared in wonder as the girls spinned and hanged on the hoops with no apparent fear of squashing themselves down. I tried aerial hoop once (remember? I am a bit masochistic) and I came back home as someone hit me hard with a baseball bat: huge bruises everwhere. The biggest one on my self-esteem. Damn, I really should try it again!

the music. It really helps you getting into that dreamlike mood that Cirque is all about. Especially that ‘na nana.. nanaaa-na’ (imagine me singing. No, don’t, sorry – it would haunt you forever. Just imagine the music 🙂 of the girl-with-the-red-balloon-and-that-red-orange-dress-that-I-wouldn’t-wear-at-gunpoint scenes. The live orchestra is amazing. Great style and flawless voices. So a big thumb up for (some) of the music.

the WTF humourous scene. There is one, I can’t tell you which one otherwise I’d spoil you a scene, but I thought it was SO funny. Well done!

the dancing acts. Great dancers. A bit unfair they were all kind of contorsionist too. Those kind of people you can easily figure scratching their neck with a tip toe or fitting inside a Ryanair-size handbag. They make you feel like your inability to do a russian split is some serious issue in life, therefore I can tell they offered some really really nice acts.

– that guy and that girl that, at one point, were doing some serious ‘I ‘m holding you – Yes, but who’s holding YOU?‘ act. I admit my ignorance, I don’t know how else to call it. If the previous act made us feel insecure about our flexibilty, this really made men previously-satisfied-with-their-weight-lifting-skills come back home crying.

Let’s speak about what I didn’t like, now.

– not really the best use of the theatre. I had the feeling this show was built for a different viewing experience, more circus-tent like. From my seat, viewing from the top, I couldn’t really enjoy the dynamics of some acts, especially the in-between moments where nothing big was really going on and the artists seemed nonsensly scattered around the stage.

– the girl sitting next to me, eating some crisps that smelled disgusting (not Cirque’s fault but, still… )

– the in-between moments. I noticed some confusion in the non-dancing scenes, some people were rolling on the floor, some where wandering around minding their own business and occasionally dancing by themselves like the all-present rabbit girl. I get that one of the point of the show is to create this kind of dreamlike atmosphere populated by random characters, the word itself ‘Quidam’ is latin for ‘anonymous passerby’, but the effect wasn’t great. Moreover, instead of giving uniformity, linking the acts together and taking you by the hand through a story, those moment just make you feel lost.

– there was no story. None I could really follow and be engaged by, anyway.

– the rope jumping. Dear Cirque, you should show me something I couldn’t do even if I trained from today to the rest of the eternity. No rope jumping. It gives me too much hope I could do it, so in the end I don’t appreciate it.

– (the rest of) the music. As I said, some songs were great and really hit the point. Other musical moments, instead, had nothing to envy to the 90s midi bases. They were very predictable and too classic, didn’t really add something to the acts. I would have loved to see more experimenting in terms of music and sounds.

Cirque has gone a bit mainstream. Ok, I couldn’t really be telling this cause it’s the first Cirque show I see, but I get this kind of feeling. I was expecting a bit more in terms of experimentation. It all seemed to me a bit deja-vu, probably because most of the cirque nouveau shows I’ve seen were inspired by Cirque du Soleil but that’s the bad side of being a hit: you are so admired that others copy you, so you have to constantly reinvent yourself in order to keep being ahead of competitors. I was expecting a bit of new stuff. Where was the anticipation of the new trends?

Please, Cirque, be more bold because I truly believe in this magic and can’t wait to see more!

In the meantime, I’m great at writing stories. So call me maybe 😀

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL – QUIDAM at Royal Albert Hall, London

My rating:


circus • showreview • shows