Kurios Review, Cirque Preview and Photo Highlights
Kurios, Cirque du Soleil's 35th production since the troupe's inception in 1984, officially premiered April 24, 2014 in Montreal.
Proposing Victorian era futurism as Kurios' chief aesthetic, writer and director Michel Laprise explained during a media preview that he took the post-industrial steampunk route because to him, the end of the 19th century was especially filled with wonder and possibility. Electricity was only recently invented and revolutionized daily life, Benz hd just created the first car, motion pictures suddenly became a real if then terrifying thing, and Tesla was blowing people's minds with his high-voltage experiments. The world was changing at breakneck speed, opening its eyes to realms and realities that simply didn't exist before.
Kurios: The Story
Kurios is the story of Chercheur*, a seeker and researcher who surrounds himself with mechanical doodads and oddball robots, his own personal and tangible cabinet of curiosities, and yet part of him senses there's more to life than meets the eye, convinced an alternate reality coexists with his own. Bending the realm of possibility in tune with Chercheur's beliefs, otherworldly characters show up out of nowhere, like Nico the Accordion Man, Klara the Telegraphist, Microcosmos, and last but not least, Microcosmos' subconscious self, Mini Lili, an elegant, charming, and happy little lady who lives inside the gruff, alienating grump. After all, you never know someone until you get inside their head. And you never really know Microcosmos until you get inside his belly.
Kurios: My Review
I've been tough on Cirque in the past. Then again, I love Cirque du Soleil, and I'm a firm believer that when you love someone, you want the best for them, and you want the best of them out there, shining. I hold the Montreal troupe, one I grew up with and first discovered with a face full of chicken pox (long story), to the highest standards. Then again, I'm like that with everything, including myself, but there was a time where it seemed like the troupe I valued so much was slapping together so many shows so quickly, that something got lost in the thick of it. Its spark, its creativity felt compromised on some level. The Cirque I adored fell into a rut.
In two hours time, Kurios writer and director Michel Laprise dug the world's most recognizable circus company out of it. From the show's constant stream of whimsical hilarity to its aesthetics --I would decorate my entire home with Kurios props if I could-- to its clever reinventions of the usual routine --for example, instead of the same old aerials on silk, Laprise proposes mid-air acrobatics on a bicycle-- to the ingenious set design --I don't even want to say what was done during a hand-balancing chair stacking act because it was BRILLIANT and I don't want to give it away-- there's only one way to put it. I'm impressed. I'm really impressed. Admittedly, the second half of the show wasn't quite a strong as the first, but Cirque shows have a way of evolving as they go so I do expect some tweaking before Kurios tours south of the 49th parallel and across the pond.
In previous Cirque reviews, I may have given away too much of the show, so I'm keeping this one short, sweet and to the point. If you've never been a Cirque du Soleil or even circus fan, I don't think Kurios will make you into a believer. But if you are a lifetime fan but were starting to think Cirque du Soleil was winding down, think again. Kurios is clearly a labor of love.
To echo the lady sitting beside me who held nothing back when Mini Lili emerged from Microcosmos..."c'est magnifique."
In line with About.com's full disclosure policy, readers should be aware that Evelyn Reid was provided with a complimentary seat for the purpose of reviewing Kurios, a common procedure in the entertainment industry. Also note that the latter gratuity has not influenced this review. For more information on full disclosure at About.com, please consult our ethics policy.
*Chercheur is the French word for "seeker" and "researcher."