Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities
Cirque de Soleil
Under the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top)
Behind (north of) the Northlands Coliseum
July 20 to August 13, 2017
REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com
How magical, how lucky we all are, that the world has Cirque de Soleil.
And that Cirque de Soleil brings its shows to Edmonton.
Cirque is astounding. It is popular entertainment at its artistic best. Over 20 shows are now in production around the world, attracting thousands of spectators every day.
Cirque de Soleil never stoops to crass commercialism. Within its circus ways, it is an extravaganza of artistic imagination that knows no bounds. The creators of Cirque shows must feel like Christmas comes to them every day of the year. No other performing arts company can give artistic overseers the resources to bring to life every possible performing idea they can think of.
Extraordinary creativity: In Kurios, the Cirque de Soleil show now parked under its own Big Top north of the Coliseum at Northlands Park, a group of five or six performers are at a dinner party.
One of the guests develops a balancing act based on stacking chair after chair. At the same time, high above the audience, the dinner scene and the stacking chairs are being recreated as a mirror image of what’s below, complete with its own performers, only it’s all happening … UPSIDE DOWN!!!!
Kurios is a reminder of the breadth and depth of the Cirque de Soleil, a return to the classic clowning/circus roots of Cirque, but carrying within it Cirque de Soleil’s accumulated wisdom of presenting physical humour and acrobats in the contest of an elastic, deliberately vague story.
Kurios’ place in time is quite definite. Its costumes, music, and mannerisms summon up turn-of-the-century Victorian, Jules Verne, a peppering of Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter thrown in for good measure.
The “story” such as it is, is held together by the notion of a wacky inventor who makes appearances between acts. And the acts themselves reach back to a traditional circus without animals – a time of trapeze artists and clowns and contortionists and even unusual humans. One of the fringe performers in this show is a tiny, dainty, perfectly-formed woman who is no more than two feet tall.
But in a Cirque circus, the acts are unleashed in over-arching creativity you’d never see in a “traditional” circus, bound together, interwoven within the fabric of the story, of the Cirque de Soleil experience.
Plus these performers are the world’s best: About 10 gymnasts work from a net stretched across the open stage, about 20 metres in diameter. They can bounce themselves to dazzling heights, literally the four or five stories of space above the net in the centre of the gigantic tent. Their air time – five seconds or so ascending, another five seconds descending – gives each the chance to tell a mini-story through their actions. The beautiful contortionists performing on the “mechanical hand” are so sinewy and extraordinary, one is left wondering if they are actually human.
Every detail about this show is extraordinary – the live orchestra is so attuned to what’s happening on stage that it and its musicians are part and parcel of the live show. The stage technicians must be as mentally tired as the performers post-show – the demands on their skills are non-stop.
Tickets for Kurios range from $40 to $140. If my children were of circus-going age, I’d happily blow the entire family leisure budget to take them to this one show.
It will show them the best of the best of the live entertainment world, open their minds and imaginations to all the possibilities within this crazy, beautiful world of ours – through a Cirque de Soleil lens!