Going to the circus is always a joy, an experience that can bring back those happy childhood days when the circus was in town and the whole family would go together. Of course, at the time, animals were still allowed in circuses, and as lovely as it was to watch them, I feel much happier knowing that they are not being exploited for our pleasure and entertainment. Cirque du Soleil, founded in 1984, was in my younger days the lead in creating a contemporary circus, precisely for not using performing animals and for having a character-driven approach in their shows. It was more than just tricks, it was an experience that would feast the eyes and ears and leave you in awe.
Kooza delivers precisely that so-longed-for fascination and immersion that circus has the power to provide. The story is not the actual point of this show, so the quality of the plot is not to be greatly judged, but it nicely weaves the acts together and gives us familiar characters throughout the performance. The clowns: Gordon White, Colin Heath and Amo Gulinello, are hilarious on stage, although I do question the appropriateness of the content of their jokes for the children in the audience. I wish there were more moments with them, perhaps a longer number, as they truly bring the charisma to the show.
The physical courage of the performers is always something that makes the audience gasp. However that is just one aspect of the show, as there are moments when skill is allied with beauty, in particular the unicycle duo in the first half with Yuri Shavro and Olga Tutynina. Danger-wise, I’m on the edge of my seat in the second half with the Wheel of Death number with Jimmy Ibarra and Ronald Solis. However, most of the dance in the show feels a bit sloppy compared with how sharp everything else is.
The show feels truly multicultural, as if we were suddenly surrounded by influences from different cultures coming together as one. Cirque du Soleil employs an impressive amount of talent from different countries – the atmosphere that one feels on stage is very inviting. The lighting and costumes are stunning and a reflection on the company’s status. In the circus you find the bizarre, the fascinating, the skillful, the dangerous and daring, the bold and beautiful, the comic and endearing. There is always something lovely to look at, there is always music playing. After all that commotion, the end is quite moving, as the innocent – the young boy driven into this world at the beginning – comes back and stands alone on stage simply flying his kite, as if it had all been a dream. 4/5
Review written by Sofia Moura.
Kooza is currently showing at the Royal Albert Hall until Thursday 19th February. For more information on the production, visit here…