Kooza Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall
Its January – time for London’s annual Cirque love in.
In many ways Kooza defines the Cirque conundrum – is it a variety style traditional circus or a well crafted story shedding some light on the modern world?
The programme says this is about “the innocent” – I guess that was the guy in the pjs with the kite and so this then is his journey to enlightenment. Possibly…
Noel Gallagher might say “Whats the story morning glory?”.
I actually think that misses the point of Cirque and why Kooza in particular is so well loved. You go knowing you’re going to be amazed, surprised and moved sometimes all at once. You’re not there for the story.
And that’s what Kooza unlike the over indulgent “O” gets right – this is about the acts not the transformation of some innocent.
What sets every Cirque show apart from anything else is the one jaw dropping act. In this case its screaming as some gorgeous man theatrically loses his footing on the wheel of death – or rather twin wheels of death. Yes, I screamed – really I did. And its the third time I’ve seen this show – maybe next time?!
Yet, screaming aside what I remember 24 hours later is the music, the clowns and the set. When it comes to sets Totem outclasses them all for sheer wonder and inventiveness (the swimming scenes are pretty much beyond words). But this simple set, perfect for the Royal Albert Hall, showcases the music probably better than any other Cirque show. And what music it is – sublime. Mostly it steals the show.
Cirque’s clowns give the show personality as you’d expect from a company created from street theatre. We were lucky enough to have the lost American tourist sit behind us, we ended up covered in both popcorn and confetti but thankfully the peeing dog missed us! This brings us to the dilemma of a Cirque show – where you sit fundamentally affects your experience of the show. The wrong seat and actually as I found last year with “O” and the experience is severely affected.
For Kooza seats up in the gods give an amazing view of the acrobatics – very strong with this show. Seats close to the stage and you’re part of the madness. I guess those in the boxes had the best view of the Chinese contortionists. Something for everyone – bang on for Kooza. Something for the Cirque fans who love the journey the story takes you on and something for those who just don’t get it but want to be amazed.