Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam: A night of music, magic and super human feats of agility

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Originally from Scotland, Helen Morris arrived in Ottawa almost six years ago. She loves being able to bike to work in the summer and skate along the Rideau Canal to the office in the winter. Other interests include dark chocolate and Wensleydale Cheese.

The one and only time I have ever been to the circus before tonight I was three, maybe four years old.

I remember a tent, sand on the ground and fold-out wooden chairs, oh yes and being a bit worried that the animals didn’t look too impressed about being there. For the rest of my childhood I was happy doing acrobatics in the playground myself rather than watching someone else do them at the circus — and that all went pretty well apart from that one unfortunate incident which ended with rather a lot of blood and a trip to the sick kids hospital in Edinburgh and those fairly unpleasant stitches in my head.

No such mishaps befell the genius and artistry that is Cirque du Soleil.

Oh yes and the only animals at this circus are the human variety. The show blends music and acrobatics throwing in a bit of slapstick comedy for good measure. The Quidam show does have a basic storyline which you can follow through the show but it’s equally satisfying just to sit back and watch the spectacle.

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The acrobats were brilliant, from the guy spinning around in a cross between a ladder and a hamster wheel, to the woman elegantly contorting her way up and down a red curtain hung from the ceiling, to the god and goddess who displayed super-human strength and control. The skipping sequences were beautifully choreographed.

This was my first Cirque du Soleil but for my significant other, a veteran of five shows, this was the only one he had seen which was not staged in a tent. He said watching in the arena provides a different atmosphere and you do not always feel as close to the action, but equally there are no poles in the way to obscure your view.

This particular show has a fair bit of thunder and lightning. During Tuesday’s show a real live thunder storm was raging outside prompting the young man seated behind us to check with his mother that there was no real rain in the show and that we were not going to actually get wet. The show did not seem overly long but the kids behind us did get a little restless in the slower sections and towards the end of the night.

If you are of a nervous disposition I would recommend staying away from the floor seating. On the other hand if you enjoy the spotlight the front row may be just the place for you.

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My significant other had something else on right before the Cirque so I took the trusty OC Transpo special event bus service out to Scotiabank Place. It’s a bit of a trek but sitting in an air conditioned bus, plugged into your iPod, whizzing along the transit way is a pretty decent way to get out to the venue if you do not have access to a car. The same bus will take you back downtown 15 minutes after the end of the show.

Back to the circus, remind me again, why didn’t the school careers advisor suggest running away to the circus as a job option?

There was a reasonable crowd at Scotiabank Place for the show but it was far from packed.

If you are looking for a night of music, magic and super human feats of agility then the Cirque de Soleil Quidam show is in town until June 30th.