Tour de force KURIOS is the stunning culmination of 35 years of hard work by the unstoppable Cirque Du Soleil juggernaut.
It’s been 21 years since Cirque Du Soleil first astonished Australian audiences with Saltimbanco, returning several times since to our shores with a variety of big top and smaller productions, all undoubtedly world-class, but with varying degrees of audience reaction. Now here we have their twelfth production to tour Australia, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, currently showing under the brand new Big Top in Northshore Hamilton, which so far surpasses its predecessors as to potentially usher in a new era for the famed French Canadian circus company.
Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed, as our perception of it is utterly transformed.
In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a scientist (‘The Seeker’) is convinced that there exists a hidden world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams await. Out of his curio cabinet steps an international cast of 47 artists from 17 countries, a collection of otherworldly characters made up of world-class gymnasts, acrobats, contortionists, hand-puppeteers, yo-yo wizards, clowns, actors and musicians. Together they turn the Seeker’s steampunk world upside-down as they are guided by an energetic gypsy jazz, electro swing soundtrack.
There is no detail left unattended, no square inch of the stage left to chance, no minute of the show left unplanned. Drenched in character, dripping with steampunk curios that would set Jules Verne a-drooling, and – as always – scored with dramatic intensity throughout, KURIOS is a non-stop feast of movement and delight, eliciting gasps, sighs and giggles from the crowd in quick succession. Even the heavier, more industrial colour palette than we are used to seeing at Cirque shows only adds to the feeling of being transported into another time and place.
It’s difficult to pinpoint highlights in a production that gives us so little to criticise. The thrills and entertainment provided by the Russian Cradle duo, Upside Down world, and Contortionists were hard to top in this reviewer’s opinion, while my plus one could not go past the Banquine, Acro Net, and Aerial Straps. One thing we were both able to agree upon, however, was that after seeing many Cirques previously, and perhaps growing ever so slightly resistant to their charms through over-familiarity, our appreciation for them has been revived. Imaginative and impossible, KURIOS invites you to shut everything else out, immerse yourself in a world of whimsical wonder for two hours and go home with your joy tank filled to overflowing.
If you wish to fall in love with Cirque du Soleil all over again, KURIOS is the way to do it. And if you’re a total newbie, we couldn’t think of a more perfect introduction to this exceptional company. You had better hustle though, as it’s only running until 23 February.
Tickets are available via cirquedusoleil.com/kurios or by phone at 1800 036 685.
IMAGES provided by Cirque du Soleil