Tag: Flemington Racecourse

Cirque Du Soleil Presents KOOZA

An experience to treasure

By Myron My

Trying to put into words what watching Cirque Du Soleil’s Kooza (inspired by the Sanskrit word “koza”, meaning “box” or “treasure”) is not the easiest thing when you spend the majority of the show absolutely speechless and stunned with the skills and performances of its hugely talented cast. Returning to Melbourne with this brand new show, Cirque Du Soleil dazzles once again as Kooza tells the story of The Innocent as he is transported into a world of surprises in a kingdom inhabited by strange and peculiar people.

Kooza.jpg

The night is a non-stop run of entertainment and wonderment, which includes Mongolian contortionists Sunderiya Jargalsaikhan and Ninjin Altankhuyag twisting their bodies in ways and at speeds you’ve never seen before that would put The Exorcist to shame. Other memorable performances include an intense double high wire act, a romantic unicycle duo and a chair-balancing act that reaches some amazing heights.

However, the award for the most heart-stopping moment I have had when watching a live show would have to go to Jimmy Ibarra and Ronald Solisand with their 700kg Wheel of Death routine. Powered solely by the two Colombians, the huge wheel is rotated and counter-rotated at incredible speeds with leaps, jumps and skips that had everyone on the edge of their seats. A slight stumble from one of the performers sent fear rippling through the audience, reminding us that we are seeing high-risk acts where precision timing is key, with no room for even the slightest of errors.

Bandleader Carl Murr ensures the music is pulsing throughout the show with a fusion of jazz, funk and Bollywood beats, which includes a brilliant drum solo by Australian musician Paul Butler, making his official premiere with Kooza.

There are over 175 costumes on display during the show and designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ensures that each one gorgeously builds on the spectacular world created by Stephane Roy‘s set design. The dazzling main set piece – the towering Bataclan – is inspired by Hindu culture, Pakistani buses and Indian jewellery, and exudes an aura of mystery and excitement. While taking in all these visual elements, you too, like The Innocent, have been transported into this extraordinary world.

The journey of self discovery for The Innocent ends the same way as it started, but there is a sense of confidence and strength in him now, and in some ways, this reaches out to the audience too. After having seen the spectacular acts in Cirque Du Soleil’s Kooza, you can’t help but leave the big top tent feeling like anything is possible.

Venue: Flemington Racecourse, 448 Epsom Rd, Flemington, 3031
Season:
Melbourne season until 26 March | Tue – Fri  8pm, Sat 4:30pm and 8pm, Sun 7.30pm, Sun 1:30pm and 5pm
Perth season opens on 13 April
Tickets: From $60
Bookings and further information: Cirque Du Soleil

Image by Matt Beard with costumes by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil

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REVIEW: Cirque Du Soleil’s TOTEM

A visual and aural delight

By Kim Edwards

There is a grandeur in a Cirque Du Soleil production that is rarely encountered elsewhere. Everything in this renowned international theatrical company is conducted on a magnificent and monumental scale, and their latest Melbourne offering Totem upholds their reputation. The iconic blue-and-yellow circus tent dwarfed the gathering crowds on opening night this week, both inside and out, and the evening was an elaborate and grandiose procession of world-class talent.

Totem Photo Credit OSA Images

Totem draws on themes of evolution, primitivism and cultural difference and development in bringing together a series of diverse and often death-defying circus acts. This thread is rather tenuous: a few performances felt thematically clumsy while still being excellent in themselves, although others were wonderfully profound and effective in exploring the idea of totems and human, environmental and artistic progress. I particularly loved the animals at play in the opening bars routine, the quaint and gentle clowning of Philippe Thibaudeau‘s Fisherman, the ‘Amerindian’ hoop dancing of Eric Hernandez and Shandien Larance, and the playful body-paint space suits of the Russian Bars troupe.

Kym Barrett‘s costuming and Carl Fillion‘s set designs are utterly glorious, with the attention to detail, the exciting use of colour, texture, light and projections, and the dynamic stage itself, with the skeletal shell centrepiece/chandelier, and the arching, curling gantry bridge. I was disappointed in the first act that I could hardly see the musicians led by Charles Dennard Jr. in their upstage bed of reeds, and was delighted when their wonderful work was more foregrounded after intermission: the scientific apparatus that became musical instruments was sensational.

My personal (and crowd) favourite was the unicyclists’ performance, but as with so many of these acts, the unexpected and often spectacular twists to what you anticipate will be a familiar circus trick are a joy to discover, and I don’t want to spoil the surprises here. However, the costumes and props that evoked votive offerings and elegant tea ceremonies were beautifully apt, and the concept and the performers themselves were astounding.

For me, Totem was not as a profoundly emotional experience as other Cirque Du Soleil creations I’ve encountered, but it is as always highly entertaining, and beautifully wrought and executed. Although tickets are pricey, with a large and extraordinary cast, a remarkable venue, and stunning technical and production values, it is money is well-spent.

Totem is playing at Flemington Racecourse until March 29, 2015. Tickets: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/totem/tickets/melbourne/maps-infos.aspx