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Thrilling Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities

By Cirque du Soleil

by Sara Darling

Heading to the Royal Albert Hall for the opening night of Cirque Du Soleil’s latest thrilling spectacle, I expected the unexpected and Kurio: the Cabinet of Curiosities did not disappoint. Tagged “the greatest show on earth” the producers and calibre of artists who are selected for the company are the best of the best, and if circus skills are your thing, the contortionists, magicians, acrobats and daredevils will take your breath away.

A thrilling and theatrical experience

I could not fault the chemistry between the performers, who have been throwing each other around (possibly for decades) since the Company was conceived in 1984. Although it has mushroomed substantially since its humble beginnings in Montreal, and now boasts a staff of 4,000 people, including 1,300 artists who originate from nearly 50 countries- with Kurios showcasing the skills of 46 showmen and women.

This thrilling, child-friendly show (although you don’t need to be accompanied by a junior) lasts a swashbuckling two hours and ten minutes with a 25-minute intermission, which, if you’re anything like me will spend queuing for the loo! But it’s worth holding out so you don’t miss anything.

Starring an eccentric (natch) inventor, aka The Seeker, who looks like he’s stepped out of a Pee-wee Herman film, the audience is invited into his secret world; and the show opens with his unveiling the inventions in his intriguing cabinet. With working mechanics his other world vision splutters into life, and we were transported through time and space, to the land of the Kurios – consisting of a lavishly designed set by Stéphane Roy.

The land of Kurios is supervised by the thrilling and larger-than-life Mr. Microcosmos, who just so happens to have a very small lady living inside his overcoat (fun fact- Rima Hadchiti, the artist who plays Mini Lili is 3.3 feet tall and is one of the 10 smallest people in the world!)

Fusing Steampunk-era costumes and elaborate makeup, the performers are recognisable as their characters, and take turns to wow with their daredevil antics. From skin-tight leotards on lizard-like contortionists, to ‘scaly’ clad performers, who, along with their side fins perform a supernatural sequence of tumbles and flops from a great height to an acro net suspended above the stage, every act is an “ah” or “oh” and possibly a “whoop”!

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Acts like Anne Weissbecker, who circled the air on a bicycle is something that you won’t see anywhere else, and defied gravity with her core connection! Russian-American brothers Roman and Vitali Tomanov, initially presented as conjoined twins, appear again as a face-behind-the-hands strap act, swinging and catching each other up in the rafters of the Hall.

However, the thrilling act that almost gave me palpitations was the dinner-party sequence which consisted of a charismatic risk taker, Andrii Bondarenko, who built and balanced upon a Jenga-like tower of chairs to reach the ceiling. So risky! Yet so addictive.

Jules Verne would be proud!

Showing until 5th March. Book your ticket to see KURIOS here.

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