Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kooza: Enjoy it with some popcorn and Depends

According to the Cirque du Soleil website, the Canadian circus empire’s latest extravaganza Kooza is the story of “a melancholy loner in search of his place in this world.” Unlike some of the other spectacular Cirque performances I’ve seen, the story seemed to be an afterthought in this Vegas-style, adrenaline-fueled display. Gone was the poetry of past productions. Missing too, were the haunting melodies and ethereal music that seemed to float beneath the performers providing a protective shield from the unforgiving stage below. The music in this show matched the non-stop, heart-stopping agrobatics in which performers finished each act with a brazen snarl at the audience. Do not even think about eating that popcorn. Now, I’m not saying this wasn’t entertaining. It was as hot as a night at the circus gets. A total WOW-fest. It’s just that it felt a bit more like "American Gladiators" than Cirque du Soleil. The show reached its edgy peak during the Wheel of Death segment, in which a 1600-pound metal apparatus resembling a massive double-sided toy Wheel-O, rotates at ridiculous speeds under the power of two guys who look like the Wes Craven version of Dr. Seuss’s Thing One and Thing Two. They leap, vault, and even jump rope, in, out of, and on top of this thing in a way that defies the laws of physics and sanity. I was not surprised to read a disclaimer on the website that notes “due to the nature of these acts, changes in performers occur frequently.” I do recommend it, but bring earplugs and maybe a change of undies.

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