11 Jan 2009

Post 95: Quidam: Cirque de Soleil

Since my stroke I have not been the best appreciator of human athletic achievements, because it is hard to appreciate someone flick-flacking 100 yards when you can't even independently stand up! I am especially unnappreciative when it comes to watching sport, for starters my eyesight and stamina are too poor to follow a ball and particularly with football, the lack of goals and my dislike for footballers have put me off the game. In the words (ish) of hero of mine Bill Bailey, footballers are a bunch of 'half witted, overpaid borderline rapists whose job it is is to shepherd a piece of leather into an oversized outdoor cupboard'. My opinion (not of footballers) but of human athletic endeavor was changed slightly last night when I went to see Quidam:Cirque du Soleilat the Albert Hall which as a venue I rather like, unlike Phil Jupittus who described it as a 'sh*thole and 'rather like doing a gig round your Nan's house because of all the velvet ropes stopping you from going where you want', he then went on to say that he had been booed off there some months previously', so therein lies your answer. I admit, as a venue it's a little twee but going to see musical things there the acoustics cannot be rivaled and I can't fault the disabled facilities which are great for an old building. Sadly, I have no pictures because all photography at CdS is forbidden for two reasons, one rubbish one and one good one.
1.The set is copyrighted
2.Apparently the flash of a camera once affected the concentration of one of the performers who fell and ended up paralyzed.
Judge for yourself which one is rubbish! How to describe the actual performance? Well, I didn't really know what to expect? First things first, my eyesight and stamina badly let me down (yet again). From my space at the back of the stalls, even though the Albert Hall isn't massive I found it pretty tough to specifically pick out a lot of the action on the round stage in the middle and of the death defying trapeze acrobatics suspended from a metal gantry that looked a bit like the roof of that bizarre new bus station in Vauxhall. The soundtrack was excellent though, ok, my appreciation of things aural is greater than things visual, especially as sound in the Albert Hall is so great. At this point it became hard not to draw comparisons to Momix ( described in post 80 as 'weird', how articulate of me!) After some discussion with my driver/carer/hero for the evening Dom Icely (probably the friend I've known the longest, described variously in posts 69, 83 and 88) we settled on Performance Art. Now this is rather a catch all term to describe anything difficult to describe, so rather wankily I think I'm going to have a go, it was contemporary dance with elements of rhythmical gymnastics and acrobatics set to an epic musical score with Chinese and Arabian influences but never stepping away from the kind of Parisian street theatre and performance art you'd find around Montparnasse. Not exactly a short description but I reckon it would be hard to argue with.
Now it's time to lower the tone, there were a couple of occasions that did catch my eye when beautiful scantilly clad female contortionists did some incredible feats of strength and control, somewhere in the dark recesses of my weary one tracked mind I thought, 'those are some useful skills, wow'.
I'm not surprised CdS is one of the top things to take a girl too for a date. It is visually amazing to see what the human body is capable of doing, something I need plenty of reminding of.
While I'm here I want to congratulate my great friends Vicky and PJ Denning (mentioned variously throughout but particularly in post 81)on the birth of their first child, a girl called Jemima born yesterday I think. This is the sort of news that really cheers me up and makes me proud of my friends. I hope one day it'll be me.

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