Cirque du Soleil: Kooza

On Friday, the GF and I took advantage of some discount tickets I got through work and went to see Kooza at Marymoor Park. Long time readers may recall that I am a big fan of Cirque.  I've seen several of the Vegas shows and touring shows.  The last time I went to this park was a couple years ago, and that was to see Corteo.

I enjoyed Kooza and even thought I understood the show this time.  When I got home, I saw this description and realized I was completely wrong.

KOOZA tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world.

KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions Рacrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful m̩lange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.
The Innocent's journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster, the Pickpocket, and the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.

Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, KOOZA explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power. The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.

I thought it was just the life cycle of a boy as he grows through adolescence, experiences adulthood, confronts death, and finally learns to appreciate the simple joys of childhood again, only this time with a new confidence and hope for the future.

I need to stop trying to understand Cirque and just enjoy it, but it's hard.  I want the narrative.

Regardless, there are clowns, then a boy with a kite.  The boy gets a package, and a jack-in-the-box pops out with a magic wand.  He waves his wand, and bendy women show up.  We're off to the races.

The show includes the music, contortionists, acrobats, trapeze, and generally impossible acts I've come to expect from a Cirque show. While individual acts are amazing, there's nothing terribly earth-shattering here from a concept stand point as compared to other Cirque shows.

That said, it is well executed.  The show is paced well; it doesn't drag or run too long.  It also doesn't go by so quick the audience feels cheated.  It's a great way to spend the afternoon.

The clowns were better behaved at this show.  At many shows, they tend to go overboard with the audience interaction, to the point where I always hope I am not in a seat within easy reach of them.  I felt they were particularly bad at Mystere. It wasn't an issue at this show.  The audience members who bore the brunt of the clowns' harassment appeared to be plants.

The highwire act was just amazing, especially when they rode across the wire on bicycles and balance a third acrobat above them. The hula hoop woman was impressive, as was the dancing/balancing couple.

The contortionists did some amazing thing without doing many of those cringe-worthy twists you see some of them do.  Still, it appeared for them that their skeletons were mere annoyances rather than support structures

The wheel of death guys were kind of crazy.  As the wheel with two circles on spokes descended, the stage hands also lowered plastic shields in front of us.  I don't know if these were to protect the performers from falling, or to protect the audience from sweat. Regardless, this seemed to be the most dangerous act in the show.  As the guys flipped and jumped on their wheels, it often looked like they would come flying off from 30' in the air.  Not only was there a decent chance they could die, there was a chance these dudes would come flying out of their wheels and take out a few audience members while they flew uncontrolled though the tent. I was a little scared not just for them, but for me.

The Teeter Totter act by what appeared to be the chorus also deserves mention for being just awesome and insane.

I saw very few mistakes by performers in this show. Sure there were a couple, but overall, it was quite clean.  And the mistakes that happened just added to the suspense.

Our seats were off to the side. This made it easier to understand how some of the "magic" was done. It was easier to see the clowns palming things or the set and trap doors making vanishing acts possible.

The seats in the tent seemed more comfortable than they did at Corteo.  I don't know if they made them bigger or if I've gotten smaller.  It's still tight, but not so tight it becomes a problem.

Of course, I did get them sense that most of the acts could also me levels in Super Mario Galaxy. I don't know if that says something about Cirque or if it says something about Nintendo.

Kooza may not have been my favorite Cirque show, but it is up there.  Fans of Cirque will appreciate it, as long they aren't looking for anything too different from what they already know.

If you enjoy Cirque, or just enjoy seeing the amazing things the human body can do with the right training, be sure to check out Kooza when it rolls through your town.

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