Cirque du Soleil
's eighteenth show was billed as a "live music event" — perhaps the best way to sum up a 2006-08 arena concert tour of North America and Europe based around rewritten/rearranged versions of songs from the company's "typical" shows. It wasn't a Jukebox Musical
, but included a typical Cirque plot and acrobatic feats. Most of the shows from Saltimbanco
were represented via songs.
The program summed up the plot thusly: "On a tightrope stretched between two worlds, a dreamer searches for his heartbeat." More specifically, said dreamer is Bill, a young man travelling by balloon to find his place in the world and purpose in life, encountering a few bizarre characters and a woman who might be his soulmate along the way.
A film compiled from the final performances was released by Sony Pictures as a limited engagement in North America in August 2008; it has not been released on DVD, but in 2013 was one of several Cirque programs made available as a video-on-demand title via digital cable providers.
Not to be confused with the novel of the same title
by Laura Resrtrepo, or the young adult Delirium Series
This show contains examples of:
- All Just a Dream: Once the show added narration, it explained that what happens in this show is the hero's dream.
- Balloonacy: Bill gets around via one big balloon.
- Cut Song: "Walk on Water" (adapted from La Nouba's "A Tale") lasted long enough in the show to appear on the soundtrack album. "Let Me Fall" (Quidam) was gone by the end of the North American leg — given that it was the one song audiences unfamiliar with Cirque might recognize via Josh Groban's Cover Version, this was surprising.
- The Eleven O'Clock Number: Aptly, "Time Flies" is about the story approaching its ending.
- The Everyman: Bill.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: The hoop-twirling performer who gets the spotlight for "Cold Flame".
- Fauxlosophic Narration: Note that this was only added in the Retool.
- It Was with You All Along: The first two songs in the show with lyrics — "Too High" and "Time to Go" — have their singers asking Bill why he can't see that the answers he seeks by setting out on his journey are already inside him and before him. By the end, he realizes that they are right; his place and purpose come to him when he connects with the people around him.
- Rearrange the Song / Rewritten Pop Version: The show is based on doing this with Cirque songs.
- Retool: By the end of the North American leg of the tour, narration was added to explain the plot; there was also a new, lively prologue with much of the cast beating on drums.
- Scenery Porn: Via projections on giant, translucent screens that spanned the stage.
- Sidekick: Cerbere, a sort of grouchy-but-friendly demon (performed by a stiltwalker).
- Singing Simlish: Averted for most of the show via the new lyrics in real-world languages, but "Kumba" ("Kumbalawe" from Saltimbanco) is still in Cirquish.
- Speaking Simlish: Cerbere.