Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities, is currently performing under the iconic blue-and-yellow Big Top at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa through November 29th, followed by a stop at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles from December 10th through February 7th.
Monsters & Critics was invited out to the opening night premiere, where we had such a delightful time that we couldn’t more highly recommend checking out a performance and losing yourself in a world of imagination and wonder for a couple of hours.
As Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production, the story of Kurios is set in an alternate yet familiar past, where a Seeker discovers that there exists a hidden, invisible world where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting just below the surface. From his larger-than-life curio cabinet, a collection of otherworldly characters step into his makeshift mechanical world, turning it upside down with a touch of poetry and humor.
With a Victorian carnival feel and steampunk vibe, Kurios is an awe-inspiring collection of sideshow entertainments that will wow the young and old alike. To kick off the show, a locomotive pulls into the train station and lets off a group of passengers, including eccentrics, acrobats, a juggler, percussionists and dancers, all in their finest costumes. In a fusion of acrobatics, percussion, and choreography, they kick-start the festivities that give a good indication of what’s to come.
The show has a variety of smaller, individual acts, like an acrobat on a bicycle suspended in the air, hanging from the handlebar stem or wheel, by a foot or arm, some comedy bits, like an invisible circus or a man impersonating a cat next to a woman taken out of the audience to sit on a couch, and even a beautiful yet simple moment in which an artist uses only his fingers to tell a story that is filmed and projected in real time on a hot-air balloon that serves as a screen.
There are also bigger, flashier moments, many of which left the audience gasping and cheering, and even sometimes going so far as to give a standing ovation during the show.
A giant mechanical hand enters the stage, holding a trio of spectacular contortionists dressed as sea creatures, who make their bodies look almost liquid as they bend into various shapes. As you watch them execute their routine, you will surely wonder if they have a bone anywhere in their bodies.
There is a really cool giant trampoline act that substitutes for a vast ocean, in which underwater creatures pirouette and bounce on a net that covers the entire stage floor. It is truly incredible to watch their technique, as they use their legs to control just how high up they go, at times seeming as though they could jump right through the top of the top of the tent to the sky above.
My personal favorite routine was that of the “siamese twins,” hanging in the air from straps where they are separated as they fly high above the stage in a series of acrobatic figures, sometimes as a pair and sometimes solo. The two artists soar to impressive heights that will make you hold your breath as they criss-cross above the stage while performing synchronized figures that require flawless timing. They were perfection.
The final group number is an equally impressive group of 13 artists who perform spectacular sequences of perfectly synchronized acrobatics and human pyramids, standing three and four high on each other’s shoulders.
The show also includes an expertly skilled juggler, a master of yo-yos, who can spin them in any and all directions, speeding them up and slowing them down at will, and a chair-balancing act that defies gravity.
Everyone involved with the show is clearly at the top of their game, the costumes are truly stunning, and the sets and props pay attention to the smallest little detail.
If you would like to see Kurios (and I highly recommend doing so!), you can purchase tickets at www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios/tour-dates.