I suffer from an unusually short attention span. I love the idea of going to a show, but once there, I can only manage the first half before getting incredibly fidgety, numb-bottomed and pretty over it. I blame smartphones.
Anyway…Kooza wasn’t like that. The premiere of the new and 20th creation from Cirque Du Soleil was jaw-droppingly exhilarating and had me on the edge of my seat for the whole two hours – engaged, laughing and wishing it wouldn’t end.
Kooza is a circus show devoted to the ‘spirit of the clown’ with influences taken from India, Eastern Europe, graphic novels and comic books. It tells the story of an innocent, naïve but charming little clown who basically has no friends and is totally incapable of flying his kite… pretty dull life right? That’s until some trickster comes along and leads him on a dazzling journey into a new world full of fear, violence, joy and love where people, quite frankly, do some crazy shit.
The highlights for me were the contortionist acrobats who twisted their bodies, ever so gracefully, into ways that human bodies should not be twisted. I was seriously worried they were going to break their necks. And also imagine their boyfriends must be feeling pretty lucky.
I also loved the trapeze artists – swinging around the Royal Albert Hall like Tarzan on hallucinogens. Not a safety net in sight. And the double high wire fellas who managed to ride a bike on a really high rope, with someone standing on their shoulders. No biggie.
The climax of the show was definitely the wheel of death; where a couple of guys dressed as devils totally defied death and gravity by running around like hamsters on giant simultaneous spinning wheels. This one nearly made me pee my pants a bit.
Talking of pee. The part that really did not do it for me was the giant ‘mad’ dog character who ran around the stage lifting his leg and ‘peeing’ on the audience. The dog goes into the same box as the weird clown who pulled up a member of the audience and started humping their leg. I get that the adrenaline stuff needs to be balanced with a bit of downtime, but I just don’t find slapstick humour that funny. And this whole part of the show didn’t seem to fit with the elegance and talent that the rest of the show had in spades.
I left Kooza feeling completely inadequate that all I can do with my body is an awkward cartwheel and the Macarena. If you go to just one show this year, make it this one. Spectacular, spectacular.
Preview the show and buy tickets to Kooza here
Tickets start from £42.50 (Good seats/times are more like £67.50 though)