You don’t have to go far to feel like you are in another place. Just make your way to Uptown Charlotte and catch a performance of Quidam. Without leaving your seat, you will be transported to something beyond the normal realm. It’s not a circus, a play, or a concert, but a mix of the three creating its own unique art form. Cirque du Soleil is definitely in a league all its own.
Being my family’s first Cirque du Soleil show, we didn’t know exactly what to expect on its opening night in Charlotte. The incredible talent of the performers had us sitting on the edge of our seats and silenced in awe. Their high-flying acrobatics and impressive physical prowess were mind blowing. The artistry of an aerial silk performer had us captivated. The high-flying hoop acrobatic duo left us speechless. The live music added another layer of intensity to the already passionate performance.
The narrative was not the easiest for us to follow. Quidam’s basic storyline is a young girl’s escape into a world of imagination. My nine-year-old daughter tried to follow along, but quickly got confused. She understood it started with a young girl who answered her front door to find a headless man who gave her a hat, but that was as far as she was able to understand. It’s wonderful that there is a lot left up to the viewer’s interpretation, but it’s not just children who found it hard to follow. Even my husband and I were unsure how the swings from foreboding to playful actually connected.
Cirque uses the classic theatrical formula of tragedy and comedy. Some acts are dark and heavy with an intense build-up, quickly followed by a lighter moment. Classic old world circus acts provide the comic relief, with a clown weaving in and out of the acts to provide some more traditional circus whimsical moments.
In the row in front of us, a young girl looking about five-years-old complained to her mother that it was too loud and repeatedly asked to go home. The child squirmed and crawled into her mother’s lap. Early on the mother took her out and they never returned. The relatively dark nature along with loud music and thunder could scare younger kids easily. This Cirque production is better suited for older kids.
My nine and seven-year-old daughters both enjoyed the show, but they accurately thought it was different from any other performances that have seen. And they too, said it was too loud at times, but not enough to want to leave. Watching the truly gifted performers kept them in their seats and wanting more. This was our family’s first Cirque du Soleil show, but it will not be our last.