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Royal Albert Hall, London

Cirque du Soleil is not for the faint hearted. If you can bear to tear your eyes away from the show you will see the rest of the audience biting their nails with racing hearts. KOOZA is spectacular, it is impressive, and it comes from another world – a world where we can balance at great heights on a tiny wire, where we can fold ourselves completely in half, where we can jump ten meters into the air and land calmly on both feet… The performance is an adrenaline packed feast of entertainment; just make sure your children know never to try what they see at home!

KOOZA is full of charming comedy as it centres itself around the story of an innocent clown who is taught the art of the circus by the more experienced trickster. We follow the journey of this adorable little clown as he watches the most sparkling of acts. The carnivalesque set, designed by Stéphane Roy, emerges out of the shadows to reveal an elaborate stage and orchestra level patterned with Indian style jewels and colours. Looking up to the sky the set becomes even more complex and elaborate and it is here that the impressive lighting design by Martin Labrecque is centred. The music is consistently excellent with highlights from the two vocalists, Vedra Chandler and Marie-Pier Guilbault, and the powerful percussionist, Fernando Diaz on his very exciting drum kit. A comic array of characters including a mad king, crazy clowns, and a giant dog, lead us through the performance, a welcome relief from the sublime danger and tension created by the acts. It is refreshing to see a performance that relies so much on pure technical skill to also focus on the story, the artistry, and the creativity of their work.

The dynamitic spectacle of each act is incredible; we experience feats of immense strength and power in the ensemble pieces, beautifully choreographed by Clarence Ford. The three contortionists in their glittering gold, are mesmeric as they fold over one another and climb into the most polished and unnatural looking positions. The Unicycle duo, accompanied by Parisian style romantic music, are superb as they work together to carry out what is both impressive in its technique and entrancing in its style.  The high wire is suitably terrifying and the artists play on our emotions as they pretend to wobble and slip. Of course when they end up cycling along a thin wire many metres above the ground, balancing their bikes and  themselves and holding up a man on a little chair, we know that their previous wobbles were part of the act. The gothic and terrifying wheel of death, set up by a burlesque skeleton dance, is a highlight as two artists propel themselves around in a constant cycle of jumps at great heights. However, it is the teeterboard that creates the most gasps from the audience as each jump gets more complex, more dangerous, and more exciting.

KOOZA is a wonderful night of entertainment, suitable for children and adults alike. It provides the perfect escape from the January greyness and the back to school blues as it transports the audience to a place where anything is possible.

  • Circus
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Directors/Creators: David Shiner and Serge Roy
  • Royal Albert Hall, London
  • Until 19th February 2015
  • Time: 20.00
  • Review by Lucy Ashe
  • 6 January 2015

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