After the disappointment of Crazy Horse’s autumn show Forever Crazy, high profile cabaret is back with a bang as Cirque du Soleil pull out all the stops in their new show Kooza.
As was the case with Forever Crazy, expectations go through the roof before the show – and so they should. Cirque’s CEO Guy Laliberté started out as a busker but is now a billionaire space tourist with Dubai backing. From set design to costumes to world-class performers, no expense is spared.
Unlike last year’s more abstract Totem at the same venue, Kooza features more direct storytelling. Throughout the evening, we see the Innocent wander from character to character, each stop as wonderful as the last. The charismatic Trickster opens up the magical world with a remarkable acrobatic routine: with assured movements, it is as if every muscle is alive separately. His presence is incredible. Later, The Pickpocket demonstrates a simple magic ball trick to a volunteer from the audience, all the while living up to his name.
Ensemble groups also dazzle with supreme examples of acrobatics, contortion, trapeze and high wire hijinks. The group of clowns (is there an official collective noun?) seemingly pick on middle-aged men in suits for some amusing audience interaction – a helpful tip if you’re the bashful or exhibitionist sort.
And then there’s the Wheel Of Death. And the skeleton dancing. And the hand balancing on a tower of chairs. And much, much more. We can see where the money went (and how). But, talking of money, the tickets are not exactly cheap (prices range from around £20 to £200 per seat) and some may prefer the more spit-and-sawdust feel of big-tent cabaret shows like La Soiree and the Spiegeltent.
If you only see one circus show this year, maybe you should get out more but make this the one you see.
Cirque du Soleil's Kooza continues at the Royal Albert Hall until 14 February. Ticket information can be found here.
Londonist attended at the invitation of Premiere PR.
Photograph provided by Premiere PR.