Friday, October 16, 2009

review - Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA




When I interviewed Melanie Laland (artistic director of Kooza) for BroadwayWorld.com, she told me it would be thrilling, but what I felt as I experienced Kooza at the Sant Monica Pier exceeded my wildest expectations. This Cirque du Soleil show is a return to the basics of cirque: the art of performance, which, in turn, includes the brilliant aerial acts and the absurd bafoonery of the clowns. 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of Cirque du Soleil - it premiered on the Santa Monica Pier in 1984 - so another viewing, with some re-envisioning, of the acts that make this unique circus tick seems only natural.
I remember and welcome the petit Outsider who wants so much to belong to the dazzling troupe of vagabond performers, and also the box, out of which pops the Trickster who cleverly conjures up a series of obstacles, kind of like life. The comic clowns intermingling with the audience have been a cirque staple in every single show, and none disappoint here. Audience members join in the fun onstage - some return to their seats, some do not. One gal disappeared in a magic sequence in Act I only to reappear at the most unexpected moment in Act II. Surprise, surprise, surprise!
The orchestra, which sits on top of a huge traveling set piece called the bataclan - and singers are enchanting as they entertain with a wide variety of music. The colorful costumes are breathtaking and every act, nothing short of sensational. I was particularly blown away by the Wheel of Death (upper photo) where 2 aerialists 'ride' within and on top of the spinning wheels. Not only do the wheels spin, but the entire unit rotates with incredible speed while
the men defy gravity with their rope jumping and other daring physical antics. It is not that easy to frighten me, but I sincerely gasped and blinked my eyes a few times during this set.

If you have never seen a Cirque du Soleil show, go, go go!!!! If you are a diehard fan like me, be prepared for the ride of your life, as Kooza opens up a plethora of new thrills, chills and spills!
5 out of 5 stars

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