Left – Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel. Cover – Photo: D-CORD Costumes: Philippe Guillotel. © Cirque du Soleil
If you are unfamiliar with the world famous Cirque du Soleil, the chances are you have never truly experienced the magic of cirque theatre – or you are living under a rock (or possibly both). That's ok… it’s never too late to learn something new!
Cirque du Soleil is like the Olympics of cirque theatre: for an aspiring performer I could only imagine that it is the Nirvana of establishments – where you train tirelessly and work your whole life to get a shot at a space under the Grand Chapiteau!
I attended my first show as a child, travelling up from rural New South Wales to take 'my' place under that Grand Chapiteau as a wide-eyed fan with the production of Saltimbanco. My love for Cirque du Soleil was born on this day and since then I have seen many shows, in many countries and every one of them has been the best so far!
Well, once again I stand corrected with the latest production of Kurios. Another trip into the wacky and wonderful world of Cirque du Soleil, we are introduced to the 'Cabinet of Curiosities' that are being brought to life under the infamous big top. Kurios and curiouser (teehee) it seems as we explore a weird and wondrous world of oddities and strange happenings. If the Addams family and Studio Ghibli made a circus under the close supervision of Salvador Dali I imagine it might look a little like this. A cabinet of curiosities indeed, as they introduced strange and thrilling contraptions, objects and characters throughout the show.
A swinging steam-punk vibe has been the theme for the costumes and music and by far it has easily been the most exciting and entertaining show I have seen in years! The band were an eclectic mix of jazz and electro swing, setting and creating the most important moods for the show. Beat by beat they flow with the performers and create a manic sense of excitement as they match the moves in real time. There is just no way to fathom the amount of tiny elements that make up such a show, it never ceases to amaze me.
Mad scientists, steam trains and dapper-dressed performers open the show with an absolute powerhouse performance of slapstick and 'old-timey' feel as they dance, juggle and bring big entertainment in that true fun feel that only the silly nature of a circus can bring. I really need to express the fun and folly this show has brought, in the truest sense of these words. Cirque du Soleil ALWAYS brings the awe, no question of that, but this show has also really, truly brought the fun into every element.
The exciting and original costumes – whether they be a cross between a human bellows and an accordion (or an amphibious creature flipping fervently through the air) are always the biggest eye-catch of the show. Not your traditional clowns, these oddities are what makes Kurios such a whimsical and wondrous feast for the eyes. The ability to humanise inanimate objects and bring them to life in such a way that you can create a sense of attachment and connection is nothing short of phenomenal. It's no easy feat to create emotion in an object that is otherwise overlooked, and it really drives home the importance of tiny things that are at play to create a bigger atmosphere. This is what Cirque du Soleil are fantastic for: always having something to distract, detract or deter your focus. It is not just the fantastic feats of strength or performance, it's the dozen or more weird and whimsical things that are happening around the main attraction that you need to watch as well. It's like studying a painting; you will always pick up on something the person next to you missed.
From flying bicycles to floating chairs, this show is jam-packed full of madness and that doesn't even start to scratch the surface of the awe inspiring acts that leave mouths agape, or clutching your seat as the artists defy death for the umpteenth time in so many seconds! Even something as simple as a yo-yo is performed in a way that would cause great physical damage to the average person if it were to attempted. It's not just what you can see and don't believe, this show has a strong focus on what you DON'T see and make believe, which for me was the most memorable and heart warming part: Cirque du Soleil really put the wonder back into watching, awakening the child within us all under the big top, giving you a sense of hope (and a pang of envy) when you realise just how much fun a job can be. We don't see the hard work and energy that is put in by countless people to bring us a show of such magnitude and merriment, we are just fortunate enough to see the end result, which really is a completely mad, topsy-turvy ride of dancing, thrills and fun. Projections, miming, crowd heckling and a healthy dose of death-defiance are what is in store when you attend Kurios.
Hard to describe just how much awe it inspires without ruining the show, however, let me just say it is worth every minute, delivering (and then some) embedding memories for those that are first timers, old timers or first in line, every time!
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but Kurios will certainly cure what ails yours.
Cirque du Soleil presents
Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities
by Michel Laprise
Director Michel Laprise
Venue: Under the Big Top, Northshore Hamilton QLD
Dates: 10 January – 23 February, 2020