As the Cirque du Soleil KOOZA band performs high above The Grand Chapiteau stage, the show begins with two clowns, one a small, comical innocent, the other an enigmatic, teasing trickster. Both are rocking bold, striped suits (one vertical, one horizontal) yet the two couldn’t be more different in personality. They’re our hosts for the two-act production now touring Vancouver.
With KOOZA, the Montreal-based production company takes us back to the roots of Cirque, showcasing provocative, impossible feats done with grace and agility in its 20th production to date.
Creator and Director David Shiner draws us into the life of the clown, filled with laughter, tears and dilemmas. At the show’s core: human heart and its wonder. If a small, unassuming kite-clutching clown can find his way in the world, then anything – and everything – is possible.
As usual, costumes, music and agile performers mesh for a highly-entertaining show, with the opening number bringing on a high-energy start. Three women bend in the most impossible ways during Contortion set to seductive Middle Eastern music, courtesy of composer Jean-François Côté.
Gorgeous outfits (Costume Designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt) and makeup (Make-up Designer Florence Cornet) are easily two of KOOZA’s many highlights. The carnival-like set design harks to circuses of yesteryear and include colourful, festive, Hindu-inspired design details.
Little known fact: A sky chart, portraying the heavens on the day of the first public performance of the show, adorns the stage floor.
Our jaws were already dropping not 20 minutes into the evening!
The unicyclist couple make their work seem effortless yet to us they’re incredibly masterful daredevils. The high-wire acrobats demonstrate just how treacherous some of the movements can be, demonstrating showmanship, determination and incredible balance from WAY up high.
Watching the Wheel of Death in Act Two was equally compelling. The Cirque cast includes some of the world’s top acrobats; it’s a real treat watching the non-stop action. There’s always something happening on a Cirque stage, from dancers to clowns to movement. It’s a non-stop visual experience suitable for all ages.
The VIP Rouge Experience
Once through the VIP Rouge tent doors, you’re immediately greeted with a glass of wine or bubbly, your coat is securely checked in and the party begins! The tent’s heated, contains its own patio, washroom area and bar and leads through a special exit to the main tent close to the VIP seating area. No need to check your watches or phones as showtime announcements are made in the tent.
Cirque uses local caterers, and in Vancouver’s case, Savoury Chef was hired to bring their locally-sourced, high quality creations to Cirque VIP guests.
On the KOOZA menu: White Bean Crostini, Fig & Goat Cheese Tarts, Mini Smoked Salmon Eclairs, Asian Scallop BLT, Pate De Campagne, Mini Stuffed Potatoes, Classic Mini Sliders, Spiced Kale and Veggie Curry and a Short Rib carving station. All delicious and small so we could enjoy several before the show. The tent opens one hour before showtime, giving us plenty of time to nibble, sip and mingle before taking our seats.
At intermission, we headed back into our exclusive tent greeted with a gift bag and some time for sweets, wine and coffee. Savoury Chef had prepared lemon tarts, candied apple bites and macaron pops for our enjoyment.
Though Cirque’s seating plan allows good views no matter where you are under the big tent, VIP Rouge seats are in highly-coveted sections 101 and 102, bringing the action up close and personal. After the show, we grabbed our coats, walked to the dedicated parking area and headed home after a lovely experience under the big tent, VIP style! Though we’ve been to a few Cirque productions, this was a whole new way of experiencing the show, one that we’ll not soon forget!
Catch this captivating, colourful and entertaining Cirque production through December 27 under The Grand Chapiteau at Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Place.
Unless otherwise stated or watermarked, all photos by OSA Images.