Tuesday, December 15, 2015

QUIDAM - CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Target (Ardee Dionisio) 
Photo: Matt Beard

AIS Arena, Canberra, until 20th December, 2015

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

One of Cirque du Soleil’s earliest shows, “Quidam” premiered in Quebec in April 1996. After nearly 20 years touring the world, it commenced its final Australian tour in the AIS stadium in Canberra on 10th December 2015. Following seasons in Wollongong, Hobart and Newcastle, it will move to New Zealand where it will have its final performance in Christchurch on February 26th, 2016.

One would think that after almost 20 years touring, “Quidam” would be a bit frayed around the edges. However, it’s as shiny as a new pin, and even in arena format, “Quidam” remains an astonishing spectacle.

Written and directed by Franco Dragone, “Quidam” contains all the hallmarks of the ground-breaking Cirque du Soleil style which, with its merging of theatre with circus performance, changed modern circus forever.

A huge cast, stunning acrobatics, brilliant costumes, superb lighting, breath-taking staging and meticulous presentation are all on display as the show follows the adventures of Zoe, a little girl who, ignored by her parents, dreams up a whimsical world peopled by surreal characters including a headless man who carries an umbrella, a strange ringmaster called John, a graceful sprite called Target, and a mysterious Frankenstein-like creature called Boum-Boum.

In this world urchin-like characters continually appear and disappear, while highly skilled acrobats perform astonishing feats either on the huge revolving stage, or high above the heads of the audience, to a thrilling score performed by a superb live band and singers.

Among the brilliantly performed specialty acts, the incredible strength of the statues, Natalia Pestova and Alexander Pestov, the grace and flexibility of Julie Cameron performing high above the stage on silks, the panache of Wei Liang Lin with his diabolos, and the breathtaking stunts of Cory Sylvester and his German Wheel stay etched in the mind.

Personal favourites include the amazing ensemble skipping-rope routine, and the extraordinary Banquine finale in which fifteen extraordinary acrobats flipped, tumbled and tossed each other every which way.

Some might miss the Grand Chapiteau experience, but “Quidam” works remarkably successfully in stadium mode. It’s worth travelling to see this show. You’ll kick yourself if you miss this final opportunity to experience this Cirque Du Soleil classic.  

The Banquine Finale 
Photo: Matt Beard 


            This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 11th December 2016.


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