Mumsnet went along to review Cirque du Soleil's Quidam at the Royal Albert Hall.
Despite having been running since 1996, the concept of this show, which is Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil's ninth, feels as fresh as ever. Quidam is a fantastical world as experienced through the eyes of Zoé, a young girl bored with life and her disinterested parents. According to Cirque du Soleil, Quidam is "a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming or going at the heart of our anonymous society. A member of the crowd, one of the silent majority. The one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all. This is the 'quidam' whom this show allows to speak. This is the place that beckons - a place for dreaming and genuine relations where all quidams, by proclaiming their individuality, can finally emerge from anonymity." Somewhat complex an existential concept for a child to grasp, but part of the show's delight is its many layers open to interpretation, and the power of imagination can always be appreciated by younger audiences.
Visually, the show is as you would expect from Cirque du Soleil - spectacular. The hoop, rope and ribbon acrobatics the company is renowned for are truly breathtaking, and a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to see in the flesh. Also highly impressive is a skipping sequence that will leave you scratching your head in amazement for hours after. Circus tricks such as diabolo are plentiful, and the staging is impeccable, with fabulous costumes, lighting and music combining to make this a real showstopper, which the Royal Albert Hall is a perfect and surprisingly intimate venue for.
Quidam's only less than delightful moments came as part of two clown skits featuring audience participation. While at times these were amusing, at others they felt too close to the bone, and as though they would've been more at home on a 1970s game show; incongruous with the production's otherwise progressive and insightful nature.
As well as being difficult to grasp conceptually, the show's inherent potential for darkness means there are moments younger children could find unnerving, but broadly speaking this is suitable for all the family.
Quidam runs at the Royal Albert Hall until 16 February, and this tour is the last time it will be performed in the UK, so catch it while you still can - tickets are available at http://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/cirque-du-soleil/default.aspx