Review: Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza is a story-driven spec​tacle

★★★★

Kooza is unique in the raft of often homogenised performances that Cirque du Soleil has been putting out over the past few years. Its narrative, comedy and fantastic feats present what is by far one of the best shows I have seen from the troupe.

Cirque du Soleil is world-renowned for its high production quality, stunning performances and expensive merchandise. Unfortunately, many of their spectacles lack any semblance of a narrative, something that sets Kooza apart from the rest. Now, I am far from being an authority on all of Cirque du Soleil’s shows, but of the shows I have seen, they tend to be only unified by costume and makeup, but other than that, the individual performances generally seem siloed from each other. However, Kooza had a (relatively) strong narrative running through it.

Kuza opens with a child-like character attempting to fly a kite when he gets delivered a mysterious box, out of which jumps a wizard with a magical wand, and with a flick of his wrist, Kooza comes to life. The child is thrown into a magical world of tight-rope walking, contortionism, chair tower climbing, acrobatics and, perhaps most importantly, a mad old king.

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Tight-rope antics

The first half treats the audience to incredible body-bending contortionists, tightrope walkers (who bring their bikes up with them, because, in the world of tightrope walking, it is not enough to simply walk across the wire… You must always add something to up the ante, and it is one of those precious moments in the show where there is a genuine sense of peril) and acrobatics.

The stars of the second half are the two men who brave the aptly named Wheel-of-death. Witnessing leaps of faith, the two men flying through the air on a massive oscillating iron contraption will have you holding your breath and clenching the seat.

In Kooza, every performer is given their moment to shine.  As a spectator, you’re treated to a performance that offers something that is far more personal compared to the almost bland homogenisation of characters that was so prevalent with OVO.

The staging of the show is absolutely incredible, the use of lighting and props was without fault.  To the left side of the stage is a three level construction that moved inwards toward the centre of the stage and outwards again, housing the musicians, but also providing an entrance and exit point for the performers while crafting a stage environment that flowed.  The entire performance area feels alive because of the skilful execution of the staging.

Between the individual acts, in traditional Cirque du Soleil style, are filled with humour and a little bit of audience engagement.  In the show, two unsuspecting victims, or, ‘volunteers’ (it’s not optional, you’re selected, so be ready if it’s you) are brought up on stage for the amusement of the crowd.

Whether you’re a seasoned Cirque fan or a complete newbie and have never been to a Cirque du Soleil how before, you’re in for an absolute treat with Kooza.

You can get tickets until the 11th of June here.

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