Cirque Du Soleil
The Blue and Yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top)
The Showring at the Entertainment Quarter
They say there is nothing like ‘“the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd”. Yes, it’s circus time again and this time Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil delivers in spades in this beautiful, exhilarating and highly enjoyable show.
I have seen its shows here and overseas and both in its Grand Top as well as a couple of arena shows. I did not like the Michael Jackson show much but then I don’t really like Michael Jackson. This is by far the most satisfying of the shows I have seen by the company.
As in all the shows, the production standards are exemplary. Costumes, lighting and music are always brilliant and this show is no exemption.
The story starts with the arrival of a box that contains a kite. The Innocent tries to fly the kite, led on by The Trickster. Kooza means “treasure in a box” and it is the “circus in a box” that is opened at the beginning and takes us on a journey that starts with three marvellous clowns who include the audience in their fun. They are there to set up each act and to keep the audience occupied as the safety equipment is set in place.
Being thrown into the air while on stilts and then onto other performers’ shoulders is breathtaking and that is the key to this show. Each act is a feat of athleticism and grace, and in this show they seem to push each act to the limits. The old showbiz premise is that you leave the audience wondering if the act can possibly go a step further — and these performers do.
One of the glorious things about Cirque is the Gallic style brought to each production. Each act comes after a stylish change of setup. There is never a moment when the audience does not have something on which to focus. The band and singers are always an integral part of the company’s shows. I often buy the CD to play in the car.
After the beautiful opening and the exquisite trio of contortionists we had an amazing duo on a unicycle, the guy climbing atop way too many chairs, the wire act where the four performers seem to goad each other to take ever more dangerous turns climbing atop each other as they walk or run across the wires and then ride bikes.
By far the most exciting act is the Wheel of Death where two “hamster” wheels rotate powered by the performers. The moments when they are outside the wheel, jumping and skipping and faux-falling, are scary, the ultimate circus experience. The audience was loud in expressing its fear and excitement. The final big act was the teeter board where the performers use seesaw boards to propel others into the air and onto shoulders and then continue with stilts and a unistilt. At our performance there were a few misses, adding to the excitement. (The wonderful Circus Oz had a rule where missed moments always had to be attempted again until achieved.)
The finale brought us back to The Innocent and his kite ... goodbye, cruel world, I’m off to join the circus!