Review: Kurios

Woman performing aerial act on bicycle Kurios. Aerial Bicyclist. Photo Mathew Tsang

For an edge-of-your seat, breathtaking night, Cirque du Soleil consistently delivers. Kurios has been touring the globe for around for 10 years, and the opening night performance under the big top in the old port felt as fresh as day one. With a gypsy-steampunk aesthetic that hearkens back to the the late 1800s and early 1900s, every detail of the show is carefully considered to generate laughter and awe.

Since every Cirque show must have its “plot”, loosely the show involves a “mad” scientist who takes a peek into his cabinet of curiosities and finds a world of outstanding creatures. It’s these creatures who perform the magnificent body bending and fear defying acts that make the circus. Accompanying him are his perfectly costumed guides – a woman in a hoop skirt, a man in an accordion-like pair of pants, a man whose belly is a bathysphere, and a petite glamorous woman. In the background, gypsy-like electro swing plays, composed by Raphael Beau, Guy Dubuc, and Marc Lessard. The band is very much part of the show as are the other denizens of this cabinet of curiosities.

The aesthetic choice allows Kurios to feel like an old-time circus, which, let’s face it, is what I want when I go to the circus. I want to see the type of characters I might see featured an ecru colored poster featuring the ringleader with his top hat, the strong man, the bearded lady. Kurios does this in spades, which is makes it more satisfying than previous Cirque shows that remind me of the Olympics meets psychedelia meets fashion week. It sweeps the audience away to another time and place, a world of gramophones and flying machines and automata.

The acts, of course, are the best of the best. Trampolinists soar, an aerialist rides her bicycle upside down, amphibian-like contortionists stack themselves three people high while standing on their hands, feet curling from behind onto their own heads from behind. I imagine Guy Laliberté patting his bald head with a handkerchief (too suave for a Tilly hat) as he wanders in the markets of Marrakech to find a group of street performers that has achieved local renown and offering them passage to Canada. Okay, Cirque actually chooses its performers from auditions, but the way the ensembles work so well makes it seem as if they’ve been doing their performances together for a lifetime.

The show’s highlights (and really it was highlight after highlight because all the performers are extraordinary) came at surprising moments. The most nerve wracking act was watching swashbuckling Rola Bola stands atop a stack of unstable platforms and cylinders who is hoisted up in the air. My favorite was a puppet show that was projected onto a large aerial balloon for the audience to see. The puppets were just hands and a few hand-sized hats, but it was such a clever, creative act.

All in all, Kurios is a magical show mixing together technology, the organic, and imagination. Every entry and every exit is done with flair and finesse. It’s a treat to see this show and I highly recommend it.

Kurios is playing in the Old Port until August 25. Tickets and info HERE.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts