Written and directed by the talented Michel Laprise, Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios is the 35th production for the Cirque du Soleil team since 1984. It premiered to quite the turnout last week with a sold-out show under the big top at the United Center. Passerby’s immediately knew that Cirque was in town by the giant streams of blue and yellow that towered into the sky. If one were to judge a book by its cover, one would soon realize that they were not going to some ordinary circus. Let us remember, that there is the Circus and then there is Cirque du Soleil.
In true Cirque du Soleil fashion, everything was as grandiose as expected. On some nights, guests will get a preview as they witness the incredibly talented performers scale along the tent right before their very eyes. To satisfy the palate, as this will be needed once you find yourself with your jaw constantly in a state of drop, attendees got to sip on wine and nibble on popcorn. No circus would be complete without popcorn so Cirque had us covered. To truly transport guest to the circus, everyone was given a clown nose as they clowned around throughout the tent even mixing and mingling with some Kurios characters.
Party-goers danced around to the tunes of the steampunk DJ creating the perfect setting for the ultimate circus theme party. After a little pre-show fun, it was then time for the main event.
In droves, what looked like an audience of over a thousand lined up and packed the tent. I don’t think there was a seat that was not filled.
As the lights dimmed and everyone was seated, we were transported to an intriguing world. On the stage, peculiar fixtures scurry about one by one. A 750lb steampunk mechanical hand and a micro-cosmos ball make up just 2 of the impressive 426 props used in Kurios. Since this is the largest use of props in Cirque du Soleil history, it was guaranteed that the audience was going to go on quite the ride.
Out comes The Seeker who is the master of this house of peculiar characters. The ingenious and curious fellow would serve as our guide through his cabinet of curiosities. Within his cabinet, there are fluid moving contortionists, gravity-defying trapeze artists, and other characters of wonder. In this unusual world, time stand stills and anything is possible. As we witnessed impressive feats of the human body, one had to truly second guess if what we were seeing was indeed real.
As each of the acts come out one by one, audience members are sitting at the edge of their seats and clenching their teeth in fear of what happens next. Speaking for myself, I was incredibly sore from tensing up my muscles so much. It’s impossible to not hold onto the edge of your seat as you are taken on this wild journey.
The show opens with the first mind blowing act the Russian Cradle. Inside The Seekers Cabinet of Curiosities lies the Strongman and a Porcelain Doll. An electric jolt awakens them from their music box and they performed miraculous feats right before the audience’s eyes. As the strong man tosses the doll in the air, he is her only source of support. He becomes the human trapeze. With each leap and toss into the air, the audience gasps in amazement at the sight that was presented before them. The Doll somersaulted through the air so effortlessly with the Strongman never loosening his grip. It was an incredible display of both strength and trust.
Miraculous feats of the human body did not end there. While the Cabinet of Curiosities was on land, we went under the sea to get a glimpse of four electrifying eels. As they bend and turn and contort into pyramids, they use only the mechanical hand as a platform. Effortlessly they moved into complicated poses at a rapid pace. Each movement was even more astonishing than the next.
Next up, things went from right side up to upside down as a not so ordinary dinner party takes place. A dinner guest with telekinetic powers wow’s his tablemates by moving the chandelier above them. Not one to back down from a challenge, another guest stacks chairs on one another attempting to reach the chandelier that towers above the stage. Through an impressive balancing act, our brave dinner guest makes it to the top but finds a unique discovery on his way there. This act was certainly the most jaw-dropping of the night. I don’t want to give it away, but just know you may have to take a double take.
Before we return back to reality, the audience is treated to a spectacle that makes them become closer to The Seeker’s newfound world. Siamese twins separate and perform impressive abilities on the aerial straps. Throughout this act, they soar all over the big tent becoming dangerously close to the audience that sat below them. This was another performance that had me on pins and needles, but one had to just simply marvel at the strength and grace of the performers. This is the performance where I can honestly say you will only witness something this amazing at a Cirque du Soleil show.
As we make our return back to reality, we are still left in amazement of all the acts that had taken place. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen a Cirque Show, but Kurios was well worth the 4-year wait. It was so astounding that I don’t want to give away too much as I really do think you have to see it in order to believe it. Don’t wait too long, as the big top is only in town from now till September 20th. Tickets are available at Cirquedusoleil.com/kurios
Photos were provided by Cirque du Soleil and the Cirque du Soleil Kurios FaceBook Page.