Quidam**** Awarded Four Stars.
The London Premiere of Cirque Du Soleil’s latest offering, is every bit as stylish, overblown, whimsicaland awe-striking as one has come to expect from the group; honestly there isn’t enough hyperbole in the world to praise the superhuman acrobatic feats of genuine ‘circus’ performance and dance. Such a spectacle it is to see human beings transcending themselves with metallic wheel-frames and performing aerial contortions in silk (which is worth singling out for a stunning and heart-stopping piece exceptionally achieved by Julie Cameron); not to mention jumping through hoops, suspended from moving conveyor belts, becoming clowns, statues and pyramids.
We have fantastical multi-coloured costume, set-pieces, revolving stages, a great live band and even a(very) loose narrative threading Quidam together. Top this off with some ingenious audience participation (quite impressive in its own right to pull-off in the massive Royal Albert Hall) from Ringmaster ‘John’; you have rooting-tooting, tick all the boxes, humdinger of a show. So – having spent all this time delivering a ream of purple prose for Quidam, I’m about to posit a simple notion which will (reluctantly) knock a star off a would be 5-star show: For a group that’s been seen by over 8 million in 4 continents, I felt that audience lacked the freedom of enthusiasm Quidam deserved, perhaps they were bound by ‘theatre etiquette’ to sit passively in their seats and felt all they could do was applaud; or maybe the huge space at The Royal Albert Hall created an emptiness in the audience.
I’m reminded of Shirley Booth’s observation that ‘An audience are 50% of the performance’, it’s definitely the role of the production to instruct their audience. All an audience needs is the permission to be free and to truly express and experience theatre.
Review by Simon Jay.