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Cirque du Soleil: Quidam (1999) – DVD Review

Quidam DVD cover art


Music by: Benoît Jutras
Directed by: David Mallet
Starring: Audrey Brisson-Jutras, John Gilkey, Natalia Pestova, Edward Skwirsky, Matthew Baker


  • Trailers for Dralion and Journey of Man

Released by: Sony
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Own it.

A young girl (Brisson-Jutras) is bored out of her mind. She’s wandering about, her parents oblivious to her comings and goings, wrapped up in their own respective little worlds. Then a knock comes at the door. She opens it to reveal a tall headless man, bearing an umbrella and a hat. When he leaves the hat, the girl puts it on–this unleashing a strange fantasy world that becomes her new reality.

[ad#longpost]This was the first Cirque show that I had seen live, so I may be a little biased. But of the three productions I’ve managed to see live thus far, this is the one that satisfies the most–for myself, at least. The reason being is that there seems to be just enough of a strange plotline going that if you want to follow it, you can. Or if you want to write some more into it, you can do that too. Or if you just want to sit back and boggle at the stuff happening on stage, you’re welcome to do that. It probably also has something to do with the act of John Gilkey, whose “narrator” figure is more than just your normal Cirque clown, he’s a character in the drama as it somewhat unfolds.

Recorded live in Amsterdam, there’s really not a slack act among the bunch. You have the German Wheel, little girls wielding Diabolos (i.e. large flying yo-yo projectiles), the obligatory but always breathtaking “Aerial Contortion in Silk”, what looks like extremely clean extras from Les Miz working with skipping Ropes, Aerial Hoops, Clowns, Hand-balancing, Spanish webs, the strength-balancing act called Statue, Cloud Swing, and another group balancing routine called Banquine. And while admittedly there’s no substitute for seeing the show live, director Mallet and multiple cameras manage to make this the next best thing.

As for extras, there’s nothing to be had. Two trailers for other Cirque titles and that’s it. While it appears that they’ve corrected this sparse feature list on later releases, it’s just a damn shame they didn’t catch these people for some interviews while they had a chance. For example, this Gilkey character (his website appears to be down for the time being) seems like he’d be a helluva lot of fun to interview. Or the costume designer, set designer–or even the star (if the show could be said to had one–perhaps center is a better word), Brisson-Jutras. “How was it work on a show that your dad produced the score for?” Even a gallery of costume design sketches would have been nice. But alas.

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam

Anyway, this is definitely an entry point for Cirque for people who don’t know why they should pay the big bucks to go check out the show live. Because as good as it is on here–it’s much better under the big top.

Audrey Brisson-Jutras and John Gilkey from Cirque du Soleil: Quidam

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