Review Scene: Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA

Photo by Victoria Papaioannou

Cirque du Soleil’s beloved blue-and-yellow Big Top is back at Flemington Racecourse with a feast of surprises in store for Melbourne audiences.

KOOZA, directed by David Shiner, is the latest production from the Canadian circus company to come to Melbourne. KOOZA is a mesmerizing, ambitious production – using technical skill and precision flawlessly throughout each of its eight world class acts.

Opening with the childlike and credulous character The Innocent being lured into a world of mystique and magic by The Trickster, what I loved most about this show is that it contains all the tricks and prowess of traditional circus acts executed in an innovative, stylistic way. The use of a circular stage ensures no detail is missed and the cast do not hesitate to interact with the audience, including entertaining segments of slapstick comedy performed by the charismatic King and his two Clowns.

Each act in Kooza was vibrant and embellished with exquisite and painstakingly detailed sets designed by Stéphane Roy and costumes designed by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt. The entire production is also underscored by an impressive musical arrangement, emanating different styles and eras by the musicians and live singers. Throughout the production a pastiche of sounds including swing jazz, flamenco, Arabian nights, 1970s rock and funk, as well as traditional Indian music perfectly accompanied the performers on stage.

Jimmy Ibarra and Ronald Solis stunned audiences with their unique Wheel of Death act which added a real element of danger and genuine thrill to the show. Irina Akimova’s Hoops Manipulation was also a highlight, moving every inch of her body fluidly across the stage, in an exciting, majestic performance. Each performance built up to an explosive crescendo, using choreography and music to simmer the act where necessary and to create anticipation and awe for the final finish.

In opening the Second Act with a Day of the Dead theme, there was a pleasant turn in set, tone and costume with a sweeping energetic dance number driven by an enveloping swing jazz backbeat. There are however still several moments in Kooza which pay homage to traditional circus arts and manifest a feeling of nostalgia, making you feel like a child seeing and believing in magic for the first time.

The show is a perfect blend of live music, technological innovation, comedy and performance art. Kooza surpasses expectations and is a show that will guarantee an inspiring and electrifying night out.

The Melbourne season of Kooza runs from January 20 until March 26 followed by the Perth season which opens on April 13.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza

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