A large coloured box is brought on stage and out springs not as you would expect, a puppet jack figure, but a real human being who ushers us into a world of wonder and enchantment.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, that animal-free circus Cirque du Soleil is back with a new version of their 2014 hit Kooza (Royal Albert Hall). This is a show full of awesome feats of strength and agility – trapeze teeterboard, juggling, stilts and tightrope acts that literally take that fuses laughter and shivers, and excellence and daring.
The house troupe features some of the world’s top acrobats. Picture a body travelling over 10 meters through the air and executing quintuple twisting somersaults, or an acrobat on a single stilt, propelled 10 meters up into the air and then landing safely on the stilt. There’s an impressive handstand, act performed on a tower of chairs that never wobble and you can’t help but admire the three acrobats who perform a perilous act on two tightropes string at different heights over the stage with no harness or safety nets. Add to that a double high wire act on bicycles and a swinging trapeze with triple tourists and there’s no doubt you are watching some of the most skilled performers in the world.
Every Cirque spectacular features one unforgettable Kooza’s is the ‘wheel of death’, in which two men dressed as devils run, jump, climb and perform sudden terrifying somersaults on two enormous, circular revolving treadmills, suspended from the ceiling, then land on the internal apparatus as it descends. I had my heart in my mouth just watching these performers out-running the grim reaper in the way they hurled themselves around and over that fast rotating wheels.
The costumes are the usual stylish, storybook mix of princes and pirates, the lighting shapes and reflects every change of mood and the music certainly adds to the tension and excitement. But can’t something be done about the charmless clowns, one o whom is dressed as a large shaggy dog? Indeed the clowns are so irritating that they are no laughing matter, and bring to mind a new take on that famous Sondheim song – send out the clowns!
But if it’s thrills and spills you seek, you will not be disappointed. In short this is a show the whole family will enjoy!
Runs until February 8
Box office: 020 7838 3100Last modified: January 15, 2015