Cirque du Soleil: Quidam
Cirque du Soleil might be celebrating its 25th birthday this year, but the French-Canadian company, which has made a name for itself across the world with its foundation-shifting take on traditional circus acrobatics, shows no signs of lagging behind in its ripening age. This month, fans in Scotland will have the chance to experience the dazzling heights of its performance as its original spectacle Quidam arrives at Glasgow’s SECC following a critically lauded tour of England and Ireland.
Quidam premiered in Montreal in 1996 and, 13 years on, the momentum behind the performance doesn’t seem to have faded: for the first time, this tour presents a big top show in comparatively intimate auditoriums. Directed by Franco Dragone, it incorporates 250 costumes and 500 costume accessories.
But it’s not all ostentation – a distinct narrative acts as the lynchpin to the company’s often beguiling theatrical acts. The story reads a bit like Guillermo del Toro’s fêted film Pan’s Labyrinth: a little girl dreams up the world of Quidam in order to escape from her uninterested parents, imagining characters that Sean McKeown, Quidam’s artistic coordinator, describes as ‘funny, bizarre but always entertaining’.
His take on the production is succinct but has ample resonance in today’s recession-ridden society: ‘Quidam is about anonymity, and how we, as a society, don’t pay attention or recognise the people around us.’
McKeown, who joined Cirque du Soleil during its 2001/02 Australian tour of renowned production Algeria, is naturally effusive about the celebrated theatrics of Quidam, for which he has been artistic coordinator since 2006. And although this lavish production will break the budget of many families, for others it could be a welcome break from the climate of doom and gloom. ‘We just want people to have a great time and come out of our show with their eyes full of sparks,’ he says. ‘Some people will remember our younger performers’ agilities, and others will remember the gasping acrobatics, but they’ll all remember how their visit to the world of Cirque du Soleil has made them experience something unique.’
SECC, Glasgow, Thu 16–Sun 19 Apr