Call it an oldie but a goodie.
At 14, "Saltimbanco," a Cirque du Soleil production coming Wednesday to the Valley, is the first "classic" touring show by the Quebec-based company to be staged for large arenas. A five-day run at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale will mark the show's first visit to Arizona.
In signature Cirque form, Saltimbanco - from the Italian phrase "saltare in banco," or "to jump on a bench" - melds circus, dance, music and theater into a spectacle centered on the sheer exuberance and physical prowess of humankind. Brightly and bizarrely dressed performers clamber up thin poles, somersault and soar through the air, and move in ways almost unimaginable to mere desk-bound mortals.
There's the usual motley cast of delightfully oddball characters; the requisite garish costuming and backdrops; and one-of-a-kind music - this time, a score that utilizes a made-up language taken from the phonetic sounds of real-world languages like Arabic, French, German and Swedish.
But don't expect the slick glitz of some of Cirque's high-dollar, blockbuster productions, say some critics. Saltimbanco, it's been said, is a little like taking a trip back to Cirque du Soleil's endearing roots - which shouldn't be a problem, considering the company that specializes in bringing fantasy to life first garnered attention for its avant garde menagerie of nutty, free-wheeling and talented performers.
There are eight performances of Saltimbanco at Jobing.com Arena. They begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and go daily through Sunday, Aug. 2.