Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities
Cirque du Soleil
Big Top, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
October 2, 2019
Cirque du Soleil is quite something. Ever since its inception I’ve had the fortune to see its incarnation on different continents with the residency one in Las Vegas having been one of the highlights.
A lot has happened since then and the entity that started off with a clearly defined DNA branched out into at times more themed and experimental endeavours, some more captivating than others. Given that most of my experiences had been positive, expectations were high for KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, which tonight premiered under what has become their signature Big Top.
Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS transports the spectator into a parallel cosmos, where the rules of our mundane existence do not apply. Contextualised in a setting geared towards the end of the nineteenth century, what ensues on stage is a Dali-esque tour de force when it comes to pushing the envelope of what is commonly sensed possible.
In essence, KURIOS is an uplifting magical show that pulls back the curtain to delve deeper beneath the surface of our world. Guided by an ensemble that gives life to colourful otherworldly characters, the audience finds itself in an expertly curated environment, which showcases Laprise’s expertise which is informed by his background as a Special Effects Designer – think a hybrid of the worlds Jules Verne and Thomas Edison used to channel their magic in.
Highlights of the evening was the Russian cradle duo emerging from a musical box not unlike Faberge jewels to then perform one of the Cirque du Soleil trademark trapeze acts as well as an aerial bicycle act and a contortion act that saw deep-sea creatures forming figures in shapes on a moving platform – a red thread of the show as each individual act of the show is presented on an independent, distinct structure.
A fresh breeze was the invisible circus, which saw a circus conductor orchestrating traditional circus acts with sound and visuals alone that merely manifested in the audience’s mind – an act that is nicely bookended later on in the show by Klara, who telegraphs alpha waves as a nod to telecommunication devices used during the golden age of the railroad.
Costumes are an integral part of any Cirque du Soleil show, and the tribute to steam punk and the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century serve as sources of inspiration this time around, with retro futuristic ensembles incorporating elements from the advancement of science to imaginary outfits that riff on the fin de siecle and culminate in odd shapes and associations, e.g. taking a page or two from Fritz Lange’s Metropolis.
Being a tribute to both imagination and, well – telling name – curiosity, Kurios leaves one refreshed once you emerge from its alternate poetic reality.