Cirque du Soleil dons an all-new white and grey top for its highly-anticipated return to Singapore! Setting its Big Top beside Marina Bay Sands once again, the troupe presents the highly-acclaimed KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities from 5 July (Friday) to 18 August 2019 (Sunday).
Set in an alternate yet familiar past – in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination – a Seeker pursues works to take a glimpse of the marvels that lie just below the surface. In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker discovers a hidden, invisible world; a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams await.
Inside the Seeker’s cabinet of curiosities lie a collection of outlandish, benevolent characters (curios), who turn the Seeker’s world upside down with a touch of poetry and humour in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination.
While the acts and characters in KURIOS are supposed to weave together and form a narrative, it did not seem obvious to me as I faced difficulties connecting the dots during the show. However, the narrative does not dampen your KURIOS experience in any way.
Unlike any other Cirque du Soleil’s tours, the stage for KURIOS is lowered 14 inches to create a level of intimacy with the audience. This time, KURIOS ditches its traps and turntables for its elaborate stage and set design, as well as props that will be rolled in and out for each act.
The KURIOS team captured our attention from the moment we enter the main tent. From their pre-show antics to the grand finale, your eyes will be glued to the stage – it is no wonder that the Cirque du Soleil crew boldly allows photography during the show!
As one of KURIOS’ most eye-catching props, the large mechanical hand, rolled to the centre of the stage, four contortionists execute a series of incredible pyramids and figures at an astonishing pace atop it. The fluidity of their body movements when they are switching between different poses got audiences speechless, and every pause that revealed a new formation was met with gasps and resounding cheers from the audience. Albeit a common circus act, the contortionists’ stunning presentation was a breath of fresh air.
A mix of street-style performance and pure trampoline techniques, Acro Net is a whimsical act that is loved by all – especially kids, and the kid at heart. The net is tuned such that the artists standing on the surface can use their legs to modulate the amplitude of the bouncing motion, at times creating a slingshot effect that propels their teammates almost to the top of the Big Top venue. With every jump, the acrobats are seen dishing out some moves, or giggling away as they are catapulted upwards and as they fall.
Upside Down World
Upside Down World is undeniably my favourite act of the show – it is the first act I talk about whenever someone asks me about KURIOS. Upside Down World starts rather harmlessly with a group of ‘diners’ having a meal. The spectacle starts when one diner begins to stack the chairs on the table, daring another to balance above them and reach the chandelier. It is just before the chairs are stacked that the “parallel world” hanging above them on the ceiling is revealed.
The lighting was perfectly executed, as they ensured that the top of the tent was as dark as possible before gradually lighting up the ceiling with such subtleness that the audience does not immediately notice the “parallel world”.
The guests on the ceiling then begin to stack the chairs as well, and the gravity-defying illusion ends with both worlds converging when the diner and his “mirror-image” grasp the single chandelier at the same time. Cirque du Soleil certainly outdid itself in this chair-balancing act with a twist!
In the Invisible Circus, an oddball ringmaster directs a miniature circus with invisible artists, fanfare included. Ranging from teeterboard to high diving to riding a unicycle on a tightrope, the acts all materialize in our minds by the sheer power of visual and sound effects.
There will never be two of the same comic acts as they are partially dependent on audience participation. In this scene, a man calls upon a female audience on stage and invites her into his world. He will then try to hit on her and seduce her, but gets interrupted by a parrot, a cat and even a tyrannosaurus rex.
The outcome of this act is partially dependent on how well the selected audience member plays along, but the man definitely deserves a thumbs up for his mime-like acting.
Theatre of Hands
In Theatre of Hands, an artist uses only his fingers to tell a story that is filmed and projected in real-time on a hot-air balloon that serves as a screen. Watching the story unfold right before their eyes, the audiences are left entranced this simple story-telling act. The shadow characters will eventually leave the stage and play out the finale atop audience members’ heads!
For the finale, KURIOS brings back the classic Banquine act, as a group of 13 artists perform spectacular sequences of perfectly synchronized acrobatics and human pyramids that showcase the amazing agility of the human body. In addition to standing on top of about three or four artists stacked high on each other’s shoulders, the artists take off by somersaulting and crisscrossing in the air, which garnered a mix of cheers and gasps from the audience.
If these acts have piqued your kuriosity, grab your tickets to watch the grandeur and wonder unfold at KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities!
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil
Date: 5 July to 18 August 2019
Tuesdays to Fridays: 8:00 pm
Saturdays: 4:30 pm and 8:00 pm
Sundays: 1:30pm and 5.00pm
Venue: Under the Big Top beside Marina Bay Sands, 12A Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018970
Ticket Prices start at S$95. For more information, visit https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/kurios0819?cid=rtb-kurios0819.
Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team. Additional visuals courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.