Cirque du Soleil is never absent from New York City for long. For this weekend only, you can catch the brand-new "Quidam" in Brooklyn, showing at the Barclays Center.
The arena setting is almost so big that it does a disservice to this show's implied intimacy. It tells the story of a young girl whose father is always buried in the newspaper, while her mother is distracted by her own unhappiness and maligned by the disconnectedness of their family. The girl is thus disenchanted with her home life and chooses to escape into her own imagination. The family room magically disperses while the girl seeks an adventure in the world of magic and excitement that she seems to believe is just around any corner — and must be better than the mundane realities of real life. In the meantime, the father and mother are also seen at intervals on their own journey to rediscover themselves, their little girl and their wholeness as a family unit.
As ever, Cirque du Soleil uses its storyline to highlight an array of death-defying, breathtaking circus acts. This weekend's fare includes ribbon dancing, contortionists, jump ropes, aerial hoops, clowning and juggling. Perhaps most thrilling is the Spanish Web act, which features a high-flying conveyor, called the telepherique, from which artists dangle in mid-air and threaten to drop into the abyss below.
Though the audience sits on three sides of the stage, the action mostly faces forward — but there is always something happening on the precipice to call the attention of those seated on any side of the ring. The stage also rotates, which not only allows for multifaceted views but makes the stunts happening all that more impressively choreographed and well-timed. Haunting melodies, top-caliber light displays, ever-present fog machines and quirky characters round out the checklist of what makes a Cirque du Soleil show one of the most anticipated each and every time it comes to town.