Don’t walk, don’t run, effing backflip your way to Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities production.
Cirque du Soleil is a fancy Canadian circus and each show has a different theme. Kurios takes place during the Industrial Revolution, and the characters are seen as early fans of science who begin exploring and creating things. But none of that really matters. The sets were cool and the props were abundant (426 total — the record for any Cirque du Soleil show) and the costumes were beautiful and fitting, and there was a story being told somewhere among the literal circus of acts, but all of that is secondary to the tricks.
The tricks! Ever wanted to see a woman ride a bicycle upside down hanging from the ceiling? Literally, that’s what happened. Or what about watching people hang from the ceiling while sitting up at a dinner table? It’s incredible. Or let’s talk about the gymnast who makes Kerri Strug look like a crybaby wimp because this circus gymnast doesn’t rely on wooden bars to help her swing around?
No, no, this gymnast uses the strength of another man to swing her around while she flips and does things only Nastia Liukin has wet dreams about. And the yo-yos! OK, the yo-yo-ing part was a little boring, but still. There’s a man who took yo-yo class in elementary school really seriously and now he’s in the circus to show for it! Dream big, kids! Where else can you see a man swing around a ball on a string with beautiful music in the background? Hell, if we know.
Kurios did a lot of things really well. When intermission came around, I thought for sure I had seen everything. The contortion part where four women bended their bodies in unthinkable shapes was excellent. They were limber enough to bend, yet strong enough to support one another as they climbed all over each other and spread their legs. It was amazing.
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And the comic relief was fit perfectly in between acts to give the audience a break from the intense tricks. Facundo Gimenez did an excellent job miming his way through trying to seduce a woman from the audience. And just when your guard is down again, the aerial straps act begins and two men playing Siamese twins depart and fly across the stage.
The Rola Bola act — you know, the guy who balances on a rolling cylinder — was proof that there's real risk in these tricks. He stumbled a few times toward the end of his act, when he was elevated dozens of feet off the ground and swinging while balancing on stacks of rolling cylinders. Everyone in the audience held their breath, but ultimately he didn't die. He was fine.
The lowlight of the show might have been the hand puppeteer. And that’s said lightly because he was literally able to entertain a tent full of people with his hand. But it just didn’t quite fit into the overall steampunk theme of the show. In fact, the second half kind of failed to continue the story, but who really needs a cohesive story at the circus? Just focus on the acrobatics.
Kurios runs through March 26 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. Tickets start at $35.