BWW Reviews: KURIOS full of Curiosities with Cirque du Soleil

BWW Reviews: KURIOS full of Curiosities with Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil has always been a cabinet full of curiosities, and the fact of the matter finally found its own title and concept in Kurios, the latest show to tour under the grand chapiteau. While the imagery of the production harkens back to previous LA Cirque show Iris and the robotics of BBC's Dr. Who, Cirque's Kurios finds incredible new ways to display its artistry and talent.

In Kurios, the clock strikes 11:11, launching a seeker character into a parallel world for a minute that lasts just over two hours for the audience. His inventions connect with fascinating, mind-boggling creatures powered by steam trains, electrical music boxes, antennas and more. But don't try too hard to understand the narrative arc. Cirque has always been better at concepts than stories.

In this case, Cirque trades fire and water for Victorian technology as its inspiration. Imaginative, one-of-a-kind acts include a show-stopping aerial bicycle trapeze (the dazzling Anne Weissbecker), two players hand balancing in mirror of each other (one upside down, reaching for Andrii Bondarenko like the famous Michelangelo painting), and a mesmerizing hand puppetry performance (by Nicolas Baixas) projected on a hot air balloon. San Francisco's opening night audience became a little rowdy when "Siamese twins" Roman Tomanov and Vitali Tomanov stripped their shirts off and separated to fly high above the stage and crisscross on aerial straps. Acrobats also soared high in a new Acro Net act where artists used their weight to bounce each other to the top of the tent. Other thrilling acts kept the audience on the edge of its seat with a Russian Cradle Duo, Contortion, Rola Bola on a moving platform, Yo-yos and a Baquine group.

The performers built the tension Friday night, but a lackluster finale of bows disappointed after an animated opening that featured juggling, multiple chairs and "chaotic" percussion. Raphael Beau and "Bob & Bill" wrote an ethereal, but playful score for Kurios that constantly changes and surprises with accordion, violin and airy vocals from Erini Tornesaki. Audiences can purchase the soundtrack at the chapiteau before it becomes available online and elsewhere in December. As far as souvenirs go, stay away from the color program ($20), which includes only some sketches and a few pre-production photos without much to remember the show by. Also note that the seating is tight and can be uncomfortable, especially for those with back problems.

Still, as always with Cirque, expect incredibly detailed costumes, makeup and scenic design. Cirque is a master at creating the ultimate "experience," and Kurios is no exception.

Cirque du Soleil Kurios
Through January 18 at AT&T Park
www.cirquedusoleil.com

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