It’s finally here! After interviewing and attending backstage tours, Jill went to see the London premier of Cirque du Soleil Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities – and what a show it is! The titular Canadian company does not disappoint, bringing a show of thrills, gasps, and laughs.

Credit: Mathew Tsang

The beauty of Cirque is you are never left wanting to be entertained. There is something constantly happening on stage; you don’t even have time to register that they are setting up the next act or changing costumes. Even during the acts, the other characters are filling the stage by dancing, playing instruments, interacting with each other, or reacting to the acts.

Cabinet of Curiosities is steampunk inspired, and they milk this for all it’s worth, from the costumes to the instruments (including a theremin) to the speckled gramophones (as props and costumes). The music is also reminiscent of the industrial revolution with beautiful vocals by Eirini Tornesaki. I appreciated being able to see the instrumentalists above the stage; it makes the experience so much more real and gives them a chance to shine rather than being hidden in the orchestra pit. The violinist on stage during Chih-min Tuan’s yo-yo act really adds an element that makes to move to the edge of your seat. I loved the gradual shift in costumes from the drab browns and beiges to the colourful blues, yellows, and greens once the Seeker enters the new world.

Credit: Mathew Tsang

Juggling, singing, dancing, comedy, theatre of hands, contortionists, an upside down dinner – this show has more than you could imagine! The grace and ease these people perform with is unparalleled. Andrii Bondarenko seemed light as air climbing up and down the stack of chairs. It was a joy to watch the acronet performers have the time of their lives bouncing to extreme heights. The Banquine act had me clenching my fists as they – in perfect sync – jumped from one pair of shoulders to the next, with a cheeky dance in between stunts. Vitali Tomanov’s aerial straps performance is breathtakingly beautiful and entranced me. My mouth was open for the entirety of the contortionists’ act; they make it seem so effortless. What made a few performances, namely James Eulises Gonzalez’s Rola Bola and Anne Weissbecker’s aerial bicycling, stand out to me was the bit of the performers’ personalities shining through underneath the makeup, costumes, and outlandish characters. A sly smile or small shimmy to the music, particularly before the climax of their act, added a light-heartedness and personal touch that made me smile and put me at ease.

Credit: Mathew Tsang

Cabinet of Curiosities has a loose story holding the acts together. I think the needed mindset before seeing a Cirque show is to not think too hard about it – get whisked away in the entertainment! Though I am aware this show falls into the category of circus and not a play, I do wish it had a bit more heart. Nonetheless, Cirque goes above and beyond, and the amount of talent on that stage is overwhelming. It was refreshing to access my sense of childlike wonder; the company really does create another world that is a wonderful, easy escape from real life.

Credit: Mathew Tsang

Cirque du Soleil is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. My friend summed it up when she said, “There are no words to describe it; you just have to see it!” This unmissable show is on at the Royal Albert Hall until the 5th of March.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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