Underneath the Big Top at Cirque du Soleil

Marymoor Park was transformed by Cirque du Soleil’s mobile village of tents.

Having never been to a Cirque du Soleil performance, I wasn’t sure what to expect at KURIOS™ – A Cabinet of Curiosities, the company’s 35th creation. You could say I was fairly curious by the time I arrived on a foggy January evening at Marymoor Park. And boy, was I surprised.

As soon as I walked into those lofty, striped tents, I was instantly transported into a world of steampunk-filled wonder which didn’t stop until the show ended. The entertainment started even before the performance formally began with cast members dancing in the lobby, delighting guests as they entered into the world of Cirque.

I found my seat and was instantly impressed by the proximity to the stage, which was magnified by the fact that it was a mere 24 inches high, among the lowest of all Cirque du Soleil big top shows. The lights dimmed and the entire atmosphere of the room changed. It was electric. The performance began with a cast of otherworldly characters filling the stage to the electro-swing band of musicians whose catchy score is still playing on repeat in my head.

The set was a feast for the eyes, placing the audience in the curio cabinet of a Seeker filled with unusual objects collected on his travels. The makeshift mechanical world comes to life with various salvaged junkyard components, including old light bulbs, typewriters and turbines.

This wonderful stage played host to 426 props, the most of any show in Cirque du Soleil’s history. The result was a tapestry woven together of quirky characters and props that moved to the beat of their own drum.

The stage is set as a larger-than-life curio cabinet where the craziest ideas lay waiting.  Photo credit: Martin Girard @ Cirque du Soleil

Martin Girard @ Cirque du Soleil

From the unbelievable contortionists who twisted and turned on a larger-than-life mechanical hand to the high-flying “Siamese twins”, there was never a dull moment.  The sheer athleticism and talent of each of the 46 performers was undeniable, and frankly, a little enviable. How much yoga would one need to do to pull this off?

Beyond the impressive acts of sheer athleticism, I found myself laughing at the wit infused into each act. The off the-wall sense of humor of the talented writer and director, Michel Laprise, was evident with the audience bursting into fits of laughter just as often as they oohed and awed at the more traditional circus feats.

The contortionists stole the stage with their feats of flexibility atop a 750 pound mechanical hand. Picture credit: © Martin Girard shootstudio.ca

© Martin Girard shootstudio.ca

I wasn’t the only one who was completely enthralled with Kurios. As the show came to a close, the audience gave the cast a well-deserved standing ovation that didn’t end until the last performer exited the stage.

In this busy day and age, it’s rare to see a performance that is both so awe-inspiring and creative that it actually removes you from your current state and transports you into a world of imaginative wonder. But that’s exactly what Kurios accomplishes in this can’t-miss performance.

Don’t just take my word for it: check out this incredible show yourself. It’s playing now until March 22 in Marymoor Park in Redmond, just outside of Seattle.

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