Friday, September 28, 2007

Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA - Review - Or Why I Seriously Need To Go To The Gym More Often

Cirque du Soleil's Koozå (KOOZA) - Le Grande Chapiteau at the Port Lands Toronto - until Oct. 21. San Francisco, San Jose and tour to follow.

As everyone knows by know, Montreal based Cirque du Soleil has taken over the circus industry by reinventing it to a completely theatrical level. It infuses gorgeous costumes, beautiful original music, dazzling lighting and sets, and cryptically surreal storylines over what is essentially, a bunch of circus acts. But oh, what a circus it is!

Over the years, as Cirque du Soleil grew from a troupe of street performers into the multi-million dollar industry that is has become (with currently 6 touring shows, 2 arena shows, 5 shows in Las Vegas, 1 at Walt Disneyworld, and Wintuk opening on Nov. 1st in New York City), acts grew, the surrealism flourished and everyone expected, and got used to the spectacle.

Now, Cirque pulls back with Koozå and goes back to basics, a re-boot of sorts for them, going back to explore the basic acts of the circus that they had originally started off from when they were just street performers in Montreal. The costumes and surrealism might be simpler than that of the Cirque's of late, but the show is still no less dazzling.

The website describes this show as this: "KOOZA tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world.

KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions – acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.

The Innocent's journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster, the Pickpocket, and the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.

The basic acts of circustry (is that a word?) are these: Balancing on Chairs, Charivari, Contortion, Highwire, Juggling, Solo Trapeze, Teeterboard, Unicycle Duo, Wheel of Death. You've seen all these acts before, from movies, to images, to maybe the Ringling Bros. Circus, and while in our cynical seen-everything-world, one can dismiss each act as been-there-seen-it before, I challenge you not to watch without your mouth dropping open. In Koozå, Cirque lays bare each act, letting each performance really take centre stage and my reaction to each act was basically this: Oh cool, oh, this act. Wait a minute. HOW DID THEY DO THAT? (mouth drops open). Repeat with each following act.

From the contortionists (seriously, I need to go to the gym and stretch it a bit more), to the Highwire act (need to stop drinking), the Unicycle Duo (I can't even spin a person off my shoulders while I'm standing let alone on a unicycle!), the Wheel of Death (seriously, looks like SO much fun, if not life threatening), and even the Juggling was amazing (I can't even do 3, let alone 7 things, I can barely juggle life). Oh yeah, and the clowns were funny too. Now I only wonder if those "volunteers" they picked were actually real people or not (particularly the two ladies, one that went missing, the other on the "chair")... my friends think they are.

Anyways, now I revived my inkling to go see the other Cirque shows (particularly KA in Vegas which I hear is AMAZING).

It was definitely worth missing a night of TV for (even Thursday night TV! And remember I actually think TV is IMPORTANT).

More Photos after the jump:

All pictures from the Cirque Du Soleil Website except the first photo.

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