Kurious by Cirque Du Soleil – Reality is relative
I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Kurios was conceived and created by writer and director Michel Leprise, creative director Chantal Tremblay and costume designer Philippe Guillotel sat down to brainstorm how they were going to blow everyone away with the latest incarnation from Cirque de Soleil – Kurious: Cabinet of Curiosities.
The first thing that comes to mind is the scene from Alice In Wonderland where they are sitting around the table for tea time with the Mad Hatter. And he exclaims “…we’re all mad here.”
In today’s era of shock and awe productions, using just the latest technology to dazzle crowds which then means the performance(s) usually gets lost. It’s refreshing to see a production like Kurious that relies on well rehearsed choreography, sublime performances, imaginative and creative costume and last but certainly not least the audience’s imagination. Once under the Grand Chapiteau in Toronto you are immersed in an otherworldly experience as you venture towards your seat there is a prologue of entertainment to capture your attention on centre stage. This then leads into the start of the feature performances opening act seamlessly.
The lights dim and all of a sudden you hear train sounds then a light appears and its a locomotive making its way through the audience and then vanishes. Next there’s a rumbling and a steam mole machine appears on stage and like the Volkswagen from ye olde circus days; a plethora of performers emerge from said mole machine and with that the surreal experience that is Kurious begins.
Kurious is a site to behold and Laprise’s genius combined with Tremblay’s direction and Guillotel’s costume design masterfully merge Jules Verne, Steampunk-eccentric and the Belleville Triplets into a cohesive masterpiece that remarkably creative and visually stunning – not to mention the backdrops created by Stephane Roy. It is sophisticated yet simple, this combination allows one’s imagination to run wild. Highlights of the show:
The delightfully charming Mini Lilli (Antanina Satsura) who lives inside a steampunk hobbit hole attached to the chest of a voyageur and decides when she feels like making her presence known which is often and her moments on stage are quite delightful. Next we have the Eel Contortionists (Ayagma T, Imin T, Lilia Z, Bayarma Z) whose grace and athleticism combined with the stunning wardrobe is truly breathtaking and will leave you awe. Bob and Bill’s electro jazz swing compositions sung by Greek Chanteuse Eirini Tornesaki are hauntingly beautiful.
The finger people projections are simple yet sublimely executed. Followed by David Alexandre Despres’s deft feline Impersonation. If you are a cat lover Despres will have you laughing so hard you’ll have tears in you eyes. In a word his performance is purrrr-fect.
The craziest portion of Kurious is the upside down Dinner party. But the You have to see it to believe it portion goes the Victor Knie the Invisible Ringmaster It has to be seen to be believed and words cant describe it.
Kurious reminds us that the world is full of wonder, mystery and unique possibilities. We should never stop dreaming, because once you have the mind set of been there, seen that you will miss out on so many amazingly wonderful experiences. Kurios runs in Toronto until Oct. 26, so don’t miss out.
Story by Tee Onek, photos courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil