Roll up, roll up, the circus has come to town. But this is no ordinary circus, there are no threadbare lions or sagging elephants -- this is the circus of dreams, this is Cirque du Soleil and the impossible is possible.
The Canadian-based company of circus super-troupers is making its long overdue Irish debut this week with 'Quidam' (Latin for anonymous passerby).
Combining an element of theatrical narrative with more traditional circus acts, 'Quidam' tells the story of Zoe (12) who, failing to engage the attention of her parents, wanders through a door in her imagination and finds herself in a weird, wonderful but often very dark world. Its inhabitants range from demonic marching mummies to beautiful broken dolls, headless giants and the most subversively mischievous clowns.
One moment there is an extraordinary stillness, the next a true explosion of phantasmagorical creativity as no inch of the vast stage is left untended. While a troupe flies through hoops centre stage, maniacal rag dolls spin in one corner and a demented ghoul does balances in another.
Rubber-boned bodies bend, stretch and contort in ways that surely aren't advisable. A man becomes a human hamster wheel; tiny marionettes dazzle with Diabolos; a man and woman balance on what appears to be each other's little fingers -- everything is achieved with the utmost precision and delicacy. And there is some necessary light relief.
Who would have thought that audience participation could actually be funny but in the hands of these masters one particular scene is genuinely laugh-out-loud comedy as you marvel at how willing some people are to obey the clown in the director's hat.
As the feats become more death-defying, we are transformed into wide-eyed children, complete with choruses of "oohs" and "ahhs". The piece de resistance, though, is the final acrobatic troupe, who manage to create a real sense of terror as they appear to casually toss each other's bodies high in the air and then run about forming human pyramids to catch them. These are the creme de la creme of world performers and you should do whatever it takes to bag a golden ticket.