Time check? 11:11. And you know what that means — it’s time to enter into the Cabinet of Curiosities here at Cirque du Soleil’s most acclaimed show to date, KURIOS. The show first premiered at the Big Top (located beside Marina Bay Sands) on 5 July and of course, we couldn’t afford to miss out on the opportunity!
For the uninitiated, Cirque du Soleil dates back to 1984 when they first started their show in Quebec City, and has now achieved worldwide status for its phenomenal performances — making KURIOS, its 35th production to add to its list.
You see, people love the thrill of these circus acts and, as morbid as it sounds, the memento mori that comes with it too. But when you have a cast of professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to performing, you can be sure that these guys are experts at what they do. At first mention, presumably, you’d expect a circus-themed display of performances — with fire-eaters, elephants parading around, and lions jumping through hoops — or so I thought. But after watching KURIOS, boy, was I blown away. There were so many things happening at once I didn’t know where to look!
Nevertheless, the ultimate question still boils down to this: is KURIOS really worth the watch? Well, whatever it is, you’ll have to read on to find out.
First and foremost, we’re giving you a brief summary of what the story behind the show is all about — I mean considering the fact that it doesn’t involve much dialogue, as compared to your usual plays (because, duh, it’s a circus), I suggest it’s best to know more about the show to have a better understanding of it all beforehand.
In this steampunk alternate reality, expect a creative display of as far as your imagination can stretch to, as the Seeker, (aka the protagonist) seeks out to discover the marvels that lie in this hidden, invisible world — where the craziest ideas and grandest dreams await. It then transforms into a makeshift mechanical world where characters, of different shapes and sizes, come together while performing acts of sorts — influenced by poetry and humour — igniting the Seeker’s wild imagination.
‘Nuff said — now that you know more about the gist of the story, here are some of the reasons why you need to watch it:
1. IT’S HELD AT THE BIG TOP
In all honesty, it’s pretty hard to miss this setup. In comparison to its former, KURIOS is now held under a brand new white-and-grey tent right outside Marina Bay Sands. Reason for its change in colour? Although we’re all used to its iconic blue and yellow colourway, Cirque du Soleil has decided to go for a more environmental approach. Scientifically speaking, with its current scheme (white and grey), they’d require lesser energy to cool the tent down, with the consideration of the heat and environment that it’s exposed to on our sunny island!
2. LARGE CAST OF PERFORMERS
One of the factors that make a great show? Their cast.
KURIOS has a cast of 46 professional artists that come from 16 different countries — of which 60% of them have performed with Cirque du Soleil before.
From acrobats, contortionists, gymnasts, and even one of the smallest people in the world — we’re talking about Mini Lili btw — the cast here at KURIOS is so diverse, each and every character plays an important role in the execution of the show.
3. THE CUSTOM-MADE COSTUMES
Did you know, more than a hundred costumes were made to dress the cast of KURIOS — and it took almost 2 years to make all of ’em!
After having a close look at some of their costumes, it was clear that a lot of thought and attention to detail were put into creating each and every one of them. Finding the right materials, thinking of the design of the costumes and preserving the identity of each character… and the list goes on. We even sat down with Julie Desimone, Head of Wardrobe for KURIOS, and she shares with us that the “costumes are custom-made for each individual artist where it’s created and made in Montreal, before it’s sent to each show”.
She also shares with us her favourite costume from the show, Mr. Microcosmos, played by Karl L’Ecuyer.
4. FLAWLESS STAGE CHOREOGRAPHY
If you ever thought doing a somersault or hanging from a bike in midair was impossible then that’s where you’re wrong.
The show was a visual spectacle. With beautifully sewn costumes, these performers executed their routines flawlessly every time — the two hours easily whizzed past.
I particularly enjoyed the ‘Upside Down World’ act where the acrobat challenges himself by piling up chairs in an attempt to retrieve the chandelier, and then meets his exact double in a parallel universe where the same scene unfolds up in midair. With each chair that he piled, and every stunt that he did, my heart was beating faster, I was literally at the edge of my chair (pun intended too). How could someone do such a death-defying act with such ease?
It was evident that they really did put in a lot of hard work and effort into the show. Not to mention, I also admired how each one of them had a huge smile on their face and it didn’t seem like they were running short on energy at all. In fact, if I were in their shoes, I’d be dead beat.
5. AMAZING MUSIC
Aside from the costumes and set pieces, KURIOS’ live music performances also created a vibrant and beautiful atmosphere that imbued a greater sense of quirky personality to the show, with its upbeat and electro jazz tunes. At first, I was under the impression that they were playing off pre-recordings — only realising that they were performing live when I noticed the vocalist and the band in the background. (Yes, I was so involved with the whole show it took me awhile to notice the other details — it was that captivating.)
6. COMEDIC ELEMENTS
KURIOS also features a lighthearted comic act that packs a punch of humour too. In this scene, a member of the audience will be invited on stage to be part of the act. Considering how close we were to the stage, it felt more intimate, it was as if we were all transported to this “alternate reality” that they speak of.
7. THAT ROARING FINALE
Hands down, one of the best highlights of the show goes to its roaring finale.
Obviously, you’d expect the best for the end of every show and honestly, KURIOS delivered. The performers that closed the show are known as the Banquine, which consists of a group of 13 artists performing synchronised acrobatics and human pyramids for the finale of the show. They stand from three to four high on each other’s shoulders and take off in somersaults in the air before landing on a monolith, the ground and even in the audience. What I admired most was the energy and presence that each performer brought in their execution. To me, it was one of the few performances that I wouldn’t get tired of watching.