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HomeOperaCirque du Soleil's fantastical 'Kurios' is a heart-stopping marvel

Cirque du Soleil’s fantastical ‘Kurios’ is a heart-stopping marvel

“Exhilarating. Coronary heart-stopping. Previous-timey curious.”

These had been the phrases from my companion final night, Pete, a rising sixth-grader, and this was his first time experiencing the indomitable world phenomenon that’s Cirque du Soleil. As one thing of a die-hard groupie, I used to be additionally curious how the present, Kurios, first delivered to the realm in 2016, would hit me because the world had inarguably modified. I concur with Pete.

Scene from ‘Kurios – Cupboard of Curiosities.’ Picture © Martin Girard Costume credit score: Philippe Guillotel.

If something the premise and the marvelous, prolonged unfolding quantity that opens the present are much more scrumptious and tender seen at present. Structurally, it introduces the recurring characters within the night’s leisure: The Seeker (Anton Valen), a white-haired irrepressible scientist; a “Mentalist” (Andrey Nikitin) with an outsized turbaned frontal lobe that lights up revealing gears for brains; a massively rotund gentleman (Microcosmos) whose bathysphere-like abdomen homes a bit woman not three toes tall; the woman herself (Rina Hadchiti), who elegantly parades swathed in a fur stole and who has a particular energy and symbiotic relationship with Microcosmos; a hoop-skirted Klara (Kazuha Ikeda), who snakes throughout the stage and makes use of her hoops and wire-like arms to channel invisible waves; an accordion-pleated large (Nico Baixas), who folds and unfolds himself gloriously; a Saint-Exupéry–styled pilot (James Gonzales Correa), who shares his delight about early flight by sending paper airplanes out into the viewers from excessive aloft contained in the circus tent. Periodically, a refrain seems as a gaggle of assistants of strange kinds; they embody three clownish mad scientists, a set of the quirkiest and loveliest leather-and-metal clad robots anybody would ever need to see, and a quartet of male swim-hunks dressed à la mode (early 1900s) and sporting sassy wiggling fishtails.

Scene from ‘Kurios – Cupboard of Curiosities.’ Picture © Martin Girard Costume credit score: Philippe Guillotel.

The director/author of the manufacturing, Michel Laprise, created the present to protect and have a good time the delights of human scale and man and lady’s propensity for curiosity. The present is like wanting into the insides of a watch or by way of the mistaken finish of a telescope. The stage represents a fantastical, alternate futuristic world, affected by bell jars, handbook typewriters, and phonographs with elaborate horns, by way of the golden glow of the gaslit world of the previous. It’s certainly a “cupboard of curiosities,” all in regards to the richness of the human creativeness in a once-upon-a-time age the place science meets artwork.

With the beautiful set and props designed by Stéphane Roy and the extremely imaginative, steampunk-inspired costumes designed by Philippe Guillotel, the impact is exhilarating. Kurios carries the viewers into the co-creation of a world the place discoveries are supposed to delight us on this playground of man. And boy, how we want this at present!

I really like most that it stays largely human scale, whereas a few of Cirque du Soleil’s different current initiatives as featured in Las Vegas appear over-the-top, tech-driven. Though there is a gigantic mouth of a practice tunnel, which dominates the set upstage, when the practice comes snaking by way of the area powered by our forged, it’s extra scaled as toy-train expertise. It’s a world born in nostalgia, a time when the world appeared manageable, and sure, to eyes filled with surprise, hopeful.

There are solely occasional indicators of how rampant expertise will come to dominate us and threaten the world. I discovered particularly creepy the enormous hand that was constructed like a cross between a riveted-metal robotic and a chunk of arsenal, which served later in one of many acts as a platform for 3 hyper-mobile feminine acrobats. I additionally am much less of a fan of the full-volume, over-amped blaring of the vocalist and band that appears a signature of the corporate’s manufacturing values. This present, specifically, might need benefitted from extra stability and nuance.

Scene from ‘Kurios – Cupboard of Curiosities.’ Picture © Martin Girard Costume credit score: Philippe Guillotel.

The acts themselves in some circumstances have modified since Kurios final got here to city, and there’s been some re-ordering. If something, the acrobatics are much more heart-stopping.

A person does a solo act on a pole. One used to affiliate such acts with female pulchritude and frivolously sleazy venues (however I’m displaying my age, I understand). The acrobat right here takes working with a pole to new ranges of astonishment, lifting his physique parallel to the bottom and perpendicular to the pole, then sliding down at high pace head first and stopping inches from collision.

There are nonetheless the younger feminine contortionists, all the time a favourite, however these defy anatomical integrity of the human skeleton. Wearing neon physique fits with rippling fringy bits, they appear like a pile of eels or a implausible single cephalopod.

A favourite act is the place a person balances on high of chairs whereas a dinner with a few of our favourite characters will get disassembled. The act is so implausible that I received’t give it away, however let me offer you a touch. Search for. Unimaginable!

However when a girl-next-door (Anne Weissbecker) enters because the vélo aérien act, using an aerial bicycle, and all of the sudden the bicycle takes off and flies, and she or he’s doing stunt tips within the air like a rodeo-rider, I all of the sudden consider I simply may attempt. Something is feasible.

Our fearless “aviator” returns to stability on high of cylinders and balls atop his most unique winged aircraft, which has turn into a type of trapeze and rises into the air mid-act. How does he do that? Mirrors? Magnets? Unimaginable!

It’s laborious to decide on a favourite on this feast, however my coronary heart leaped when a staff of males, some dressed with these fish tails, offered what was billed as an Aquatic Extravaganza. The acrobats sure up and down on a particular Acro Web — and so excessive I’m shocked they didn’t want oxygen. (The staff works carefully collectively to carry the stress within the web in order that it accentuates the trampoline impact.) Magnifique!

The invisible circus was considered one of Pete’s favorites (mine too). Facundo Gimenez, a clown who serves as ringmaster, manages a miniaturized, old-time, single-ring circus introduced with fanfare and highlight. The curtain components, trapezes swing, bouncing board bounces, ring of fireside is lit, and lion roars, however no “artists” do you see. It’s a world, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “signifying nothing” — nothing that’s besides everybody’s creativeness. Within the second act, Gimenez returns with an much more hilarious act, as a male-on-the-make who tries to seduce a tall, willowy lady plucked from the viewers, first with sound and motion impersonating a parrot or the famed dancing cockatoo, then as a cat, and at last as essentially the most feral and ridiculous of all of them, a person on the prowl. Gimenez presents bodily theater at its greatest.

Scene from ‘Kurios – Cupboard of Curiosities.’ Picture © Martin Girard Costume credit score: Philippe Guillotel.

Exhilarating too are moments “small” and child-friendly in scale. An act starring fingers, projected on an enormous balloon as a display screen, mimics a youngsters’ recreation with finger puppets and is completely foolish.

I missed a number of the glue that the storyline supplied as I bear in mind from the present in 2016. The Siamese Twins (Brothers Roman and Vitali Tomanov) should not given a understandable arc within the story. Their aerial act with lengthy straps is as lovely as ever, however I didn’t comply with the metaphysical journey of the 2 males launched to turn into unbiased creatures who might all of the sudden soar on their very own. A number of the different excising that has occurred places extra emphasis on the acrobatic acts than the world these creatures inhabit. Often, I longed for extra of the curious, Kurios’ world.

Meet you on the tent.

Operating Time: Two hours half-hour, with a 25-minute intermission.

Kurios – Cupboard of Curiosities performs by way of September 25, 2022, underneath the Massive High at Lerner City Sq. at Tysons II, 8025 Galleria Drive, Tysons, VA. Tickets (beginning at $40) can be found on-line. For reserving help name (877) 924-7783.

COVID Security: Cirque du Soleil’s Dedication to Security assertion is right here.



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