Cirque are back in London bringing their darker production, Quidam (pronounced key-dam), to the Royal Albert Hall. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Cirque will be aware that the Canadian company are famed for their highly visual, surrealist shows but with Quidam, a Latin word meaning “a nameless passerby”, the Canadian company makes a triumphant return to the circus.
There’s a story (a young girl whose uninterested parents prompt her to enter a world where her magical daydreams become reality), but really, who goes to Cirque for the story? No, we go for the leaping, balancing, flying, throwing, hanging, swinging, all-round physical wonderment.
If you’re after never-before-seen acts concocted from the minds of the Cirque powers that be then you may leave disappointed as Quidam has a much more traditional feel than some of their other shows. We’re treated to circus favourites such as the German Wheel, the diabolo, aerial silk contortions, aerial hoops, juggling, hand balancing and even skipping ropes. But traditional is not to be confused with ordinary, because everything that Cirque does here is extraordinary. Quidam is not quotidian.
The silk and rope aerial segments are stunning, but the real highlights are the diabolo (where your mind tries to tell you that what you’re seeing isn’t possible), the statue section (a beautifully orchestrated showcase of human strength and balance) and the Spanish Web, where we’re treated to the “no, they can’t do that. It’s not possible.
For circus lovers who want entirely new acts, Quidam might not be for you. But for circus lovers who want to see the golden oldies done with paramount precision, beauty and imagination, all to the backing of perfectly suited live music, then you will leave open-mouth and slightly dribbling in awe like the rest of us.
Quidam is at the Royal Albert Hall until 16 February 2014.