Kooza (Cirque du Soleil) – Royal Albert Hall
A naïve clown (the Innocent) struggles to find his place in the world as he is manipulated by the magical cunning of the Trickster. As the circus traditions of clowning and acrobatics combine, the audience and the Innocent are drawn into a colourful world of splendour and fragility that explores the themes of fear, identity, recognition and power.
Cirque du Soleil began in Canada in 1984 and has been wowing audiences ever since. Over the years, the shows have become bigger and more spectacular; Kooza is no different. An explosion of colour, sound and incredible performances would delight even the most sceptical of audience member.
Inside the grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall, thousands of people gasp and scream as the artistes perform death-defying acrobatics and feats of exceptional skill.
The Contortionists manage to disgust and delight in equal measures as they twist and turn their bodies with horrifying flexibility while the Trapeze is scary, yet beautiful.
Watching the Double High Wire act leaves people screaming as one man almost falls, but pulls himself back up and skips off. How is it scientifically possible for two men on bicycles – on a tightrope – can have a man suspended between them on a precariously balanced chair? It’s terrifying.
My personal favourites are the Hoop Manipulation – it’s almost an optical illusion as she twirls and spins those hoops without ever missing a beat – and the Wheel of Death. The latter leaves one audience member in hysterics as she shrieks every time he ‘almost falls’.
The show does get off to a slow start and the second half is a lot stronger, but these performers are perfectionists. The presentation is what makes this show spectacular and even when the artistes are merely observing other acts, they display themselves immaculately.
However, it is the music performers who steal the show (almost). The two vocalists are exceptional, managing to set the mood and tell a story with their emotional singing.
Even though we’ve all seen the acts before, they still manage to get our hearts racing and cause us to question logical reason.
Kooza is family-friendly, funny and spectacular… just don’t sit too near the front or you might have to join in!
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Kooza is playing at the Royal Albert Hall until 19 February 2015. Click here for tickets.