Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cirque du Soleil's Kooza: a short review

Kooza was a magical mix of everything that can be good about a circus.

The clowns were actually funny, the live music was right on cue and filled the tent good vibes, the costumes were over the top but not freakish, the acrobats performed impossible stunts and the juggler was ... Anthony Gatto!

My kids were enthralled. Both girls sat through the entire two-hour-long performance with boogled eyes. The show was a seamless mix of stunts, artistic beauty, magic, laughs, lights and sounds. The closest thing to a dull moment was the magic act by the Pickpocket, who's routine seemed to plod compared to the zing of the other performers.

The highlight of my night was of course seeing my juggling idol perform live. Anthony was dressed in a suit of tiny mirrors and looked like a disco ball. His routine went straight into five balls with another ball bouncing on his head, progressed into clubs and culminated in a good run of nine rings and then seven rings put around the neck while he bounced a ball on his head. He dropped one thing: a beach ball that he was tossing on top of a metal post he had balanced on his chin.

These tricks might be easy for Anthony, but the audience was obviously flabbergasted to see someone juggle seven clubs, and frankly so was I; it was the first time I've seen someone do this in person. I liked how compact his act was – he jumped straight from one thing to the next and moved around the stage with ease while doing tricks. You could tell he was a joggler.

The only disappointment was not seeing the act that got rave reviews: the guy who stacks chairs on top of each other and then climbs to the top and does gymnastics.

But I was blown away by the "Wheel of Death," a giant metal contraption that consists of two human-sized hamster wheels that rotate is a big circle around a centre point by the momentum of the guys inside, or sometimes outside, the wheels. These guys had no safety nets and performed truly death-defying leaps, bounds and somersaults as the wheels spun around at a ridiculous pace.

If you're considering going to see Kooza, I have one word for you: go.