Fourteen years on since I saw my first ever Cirque du Soleil performance, Varekai, I was given the opportunity to witness Cirque under the Big Top for the very first time with KURIOS. Varekai was an incredible show, and since then I had seen both Avatar and Michael Jackson Cirque performances that fell well short of the mark. So, I was hesitant in my approach to KURIOS. Any misgivings I may have had were quickly squashed when the show began.
Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities follows the imaginative mind of a 19th Century Inventor known as The Seeker. Created and directed by Michel Laprise, the audience are taken on a journey through time as the inventor recreates elements, calling on inter-dimensional beings that assist in his steampunk creations. The show begins before the audience is fully seated with Rola Bola, a fearless aviator, sitting high above the circus ring as he throws paper planes to the audience below. We are then introduced to the inventor and his KURIOS as he begins on an experiment to create light. I love it when shows do this, as it serves those that are always early to shows, like myself. It also cleverly provides a sense of urgency to those that are dawdling around to take their seat.
As the show begins the audience are quickly treated to a display of aerial prowess with a woman on a bicycle that takes flight, circling around the big top. The crowd is instantly impressed as she maneuvers her way through the bicycle, hanging upside down at a death-defying height. If the audience wasn’t already impressed, KURIOS steps into overdrive with a performance of the Russian Cradle. A tall platform with the male strapped in, and the female is swung like a pendulum, tossed into the air and then caught again. The display of strength and bravery in the act is truly astonishing. And there is plenty more where that came from for the rest of the show.
KURIOS isn’t all acrobatics and death-defying acts, it’s also hilariously funny and is backed by a live band and vocalist. At times the show even combines the acrobatics with comedy in one of my favourite performances, Acro Net. After intermission, a large trampoline style net covers the entire stage. We are treated to what appears to be an underwater themed performance with several acrobats bouncing and flying through the air as if they were fish jumping out of the water.
This show has everything and there was not a single moment I found myself bored or jaded by what was happening before my eyes. If anything, I was on the edge of my seat for majority of the performance, audibly gasping in disbelief, as were the patrons around me. It was honestly one of, if not the best Cirque du Soleil show I have ever seen. It is also the only show that I have seen under the classic Big Top tent. All other performances I have witnessed have been in an arena. Perhaps this is why KURIOS is so special.
Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities is on under the Big Top at Flemmington Race Course and is holding performances until the 10th of May. Tickets are available directly from their official website or via Ticketek.
For more information on the show, visit: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios