Quidam | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Cirque du Soleil's latest show offers heartening proof of the theatrical power of movement--a power often neglected or taken for granted in our culture. True, the movement in Cirque du Soleil is more athletic than emotionally nuanced despite all the artistic trappings. What grabs us here is not the skeletal story, about a young girl and her parents whisked out of their everyday world and into the magical universe of a circus; it's not the elaborate, obviously expensive set and special effects, which are sometimes rather silly--consider the floating deities in trailing gowns who advance slowly on us, then retreat, while the Vis Versa duo perform their glacial Adam-and-Eve balancing act. What grabs us is the Russian muscle man bobbing and shuddering under the weight of three people standing one atop the other on his shoulders; it's the delicacy of four young Chinese girls whose carefully calibrated motions keep the diabolos (Chinese yo-yos) afloat; it's the deceptive insouciance of jugglers who make balls hover around their bodies as if by magnetic attraction; and it's the wonder of an old-man clown whose own hand, wound around his back at the waist, becomes a foreign object as annoying as a pesky fly. What grabs us is the human body's delicate strength ingeniously directed, not special effects; nevertheless, you get both in Quidam. United Center, 1901 W. Madison, parking lot K (at Adams and Wood), 312-421-3842 or 800-678-5440. Through September 6: Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 7:30 PM; Thursdays, 4 and 7:30 PM; Fridays, 6 and 9:30 PM; Saturdays, 4:30 and 8:30 PM; Sundays, 1 and 5 PM. $22.75-$52.50; $11.50-$36.75 for children; "VIP packages" ($125-$150, $88-$105 for children) available. --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): performance photo by Al Seib.

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