Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kurios at Cirque du Soleil

A couple of years ago Ashley was really into Steampunk. About the same time we learned about Cirque du Soleil's "Cabinet of Curiosities" show. Having heard of the famous human circus for years, and having seen a movie featuring them in Gatineau, QC, Don and I really wanted to see this show. We booked tickets as soon as they went on sale months ago. We specifically chose the Friday afternoon show because we anticipated Ashley's school would have the day off following the fall Open House (and we were correct). Don even scheduled his open heart surgery for the following week in order to go to the show.

Can you tell we were a twee bit exited?

Maybe we were too excited going into it. The tent was only about a third full, which having done a couple of shows I know impacts the performers. They were a quiet crowd.

The stage and costumes were steampunk-y. I later read the press kit for Kurios and saw they had a loose plot -- something which was lost on us at the show.

Certainly some skits were amazing, but others such as this invisible circus were an embarrassment to the talent associated with Cirque du Soleil.

The upside down world was pretty amazing, though I remember seeing something similar at EPCOT where the performer stacked a bunch of chairs on top of each other to climb way up high. This had the added illusion of someone mirroring their actions from the top of the tent down so they touched hands in the center.

Maybe this was our problem with Cirque du Soleil -- it didn't feel fresh and jaw dropping to us. The show was filled with acts we have seen other places, most notably last December in New York City when we saw Cirque Mechanique at the New Victory Theater. What made Cirque Mechanique all the more impressive was they had a troupe of 10 performers playing a variety of roles, whereas Cirque du Soleil has 46 performers doing one major skit each. That show also featured bicycles. I found their costumes more creative, too.

There were some neat acts. This trampoline act was all the more entertaining because he rode a bicycle on the trampoline. Speaking of bicycles, though, what happened to the act that was featured in their advertising of an aerial bicyclist? It was mentioned in the press kit, and there were giant pictures of her throughout the tent, but no announcement was made. The show just went on as if she was not expected.

About the only thing new I saw in the show was Antanina Satsura, who plays Mini Lili. The actress is 3.2 feet tall. Every time she came on stage I was immediately transported to the pages of Melanie Benjamin's fictional book "The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb." I wondered if she faced the same issues as did Lavinia Warren Bump and her sister. Satsura is one of the ten shortest people in the world. Though the size of a child, and weighing barely 50 pounds, she looks like an adult. Of course they did the traditional carny tricks of pairing her with someone who is about seven feet tall, but her presence alone was mesmerizing, and something I have never seen in person. 

Afterwards Ashley posed with a model of Satsura's "home." Ashley at 5 foot 2 inches tall would have troubles fitting in it.

Most probably pass this sign on the way out and barely give it a thought. To me, seeing this was a reminder that in only a couple of days Don would face open heart surgery and recovery, and that our lives would be placed on hold while that happened.

Though critics and fans love Kurios, you can probably guess by now I would not recommend it. We are looking forward to returning to the New Victory Theater to see this year's human circus show "Mother Africa: My Home." While I doubt it will have any bicycles in it, the acrobatics like pretty jaw dropping.

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