From start to finish, Quidam was a feast for the senses, presented to the audience with dramatic, joyous flair.
The first of eight shows at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Wednesday was warmly received by a very appreciative audience - they applauded what they liked, laughed and gasped, and gave a heartfelt partial standing ovation to the amazing young performers at its close.
As with other Cirque du Soleil shows, Quidam is richly layered - from the imaginative costumes and makeup, the live music that ranges from haunting to hokey, the lights, the choreography and characters, and of course the astounding athleticism of the show's 52 performers.
Quidam's story centres on a child named Z o é , who is ignored by her self-absorbed parents. In her boredom and solitude, she is welcomed into the fantastical world of Quidam, enticed by the comic characters Target and John.
The first half was quickly paced with solo artist Eric Saintonge spinning inside his ever-twirling Cyr wheel, to the award-winning act of the diabolos. Here, four young women tossed, spun and caught the diabolo, a Chinese yo-yo or wooden top, in complicated dexterity.
The first half also included the aerial silk contortion act by Vancouver resident Tanya Burke, a former competitive gymnast and nuclear reactor operator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She gracefully twisted and twirled 30 feet up in the air on a length of red silk fabric, which alternately embraced and released her.
Quidam also offered plenty of laugh-out-loud comic relief from the intense athleticism with Toto Castineiras, wonderful, irreverent, selfimportant as The Clown.
He crossed the barrier to pull in the spectators, including one good-natured young woman, who bumped along in his imaginary car and put up with The Clown as he tried to romance her.
One of the truly headshaking performances came from Yves Décoste and Valentyna Sidenko. When they emerged from a tangle of white-clad bodies, they looked serene, sculptural.
They remained that way throughout their act, even as they slowly moved together to balance off each other's superbly fit bodies.
Indeed, one of the comments overheard from a spectator was, "as far as entertainment value goes, you simply can't get more bang for your buck."
Quidam wrapped up the last of its eight-show run Sunday. See more photos at www. abbotsfordtimes.com.
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