Cirque Du Soleil’s Kurios transports Vancouver into a mischievous upside down world

Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Step right up ladies and gentlemen and feast your eyes on the most whimsical, weirdly wonderful show in town.

Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities has set up its circus tent in Vancouver. Upon pushing aside the curtain and stepping under the big top it no longer feels like you are in Vancouver or in a city at all. You are transported to a magical, kinetic upside-down world where nothing is at it seems.  

Kurios is a touring Cirque Du Soleil production and has been acclaimed as the most daring and creative Cirque shows yet. The show is directed by Michel Laprise and this is his directorial debut of a touring Cirque show.  

The story follows Mr. Microcosmos who is an inventor and the stage is his workshop full of nonsensical oddities. Mr. Microcosmos embodies technological and industrial progress. His physical form changes periodically throughout the show to portray major technological advances such as the steam engine, electricity and phonographs.

The further the story develops the more unbelievable the acts become. Anthropomorphic deep-sea contortionist creatures scuttle out of the cabinet of curiosities on a mechanical hand platform and start to move in inhuman ways. The audience sat with baited breath watching the contortionists twist and bend their bodies as if they were invertebrate sea creatures.    

The Kurios show is a tribute to imagination and curiosity.

Seeing is disbelieving in the Kurios cabinet. Inside the cabinet, the audience is exposed to a meta circus experience, a circus inside a circus. But this is no regular circus, this is an invisible circus. A goofy clown welcomes the audience to the invisible circus and says, “You’ve never seen anything like this…and you never will!” The invisible circus features Felipe, the invisible lion who escapes from his cage and runs through the audience.

Pushing the limits of how far one can suspend their disbelief, the invisible circus had the entire audience captivated by their own imagination.  

With each act, it felt as if one was tumbling further and further down an Alice in Wonderland-like rabbit hole. After stumbling across some of the “Kurios” who are kinetic like creatures that are part robot, part animal and take refuge in the dark corners of the cabinet, we are taken into the “Upside down world”. One acrobatic guest then starts piling chairs up to reach the chandelier and climbs up the teetering tower of chairs until he is at the top of the pile balancing on arm with his legs split mid-air.  To make this act more stunning it is then revealed that suspended from the ceiling there is a family in a parallel universe holding the exact same posture. Nothing is as it seems and reality is relative in the Kurios cabinet.

Another mind-melting acts that spilled out of the cabinet of curiosities is a trapeze cyclist who fearless swings upside down from a bicycle suspended in the sky. Rola Bola flew in on a small biplane and upon landing his plane started to balance on parts of the plane’s engine. He built a stack of cylinders to the roof the big top. Audience members hold their breath and peep through the cracks of their hands covering their eyes as he climbs the feeble tower and balances at the top of a 15-foot stack of wobbly cylinders.  One of the last acts was the acro net performers. The net looked like a deep blue ocean and the acrobats resembled flying fish as they leaped over 18 feet in the air and were caught in the sanctity of the net.  

There was a timepiece set centre stage that had the time of 11:11 (time to make a wish). As the show came to a close the time changed to 11:12. In the mystical world of the Kurios, all of this takes place in a minute. Time is limitless and reality is relative to one’s imagination. Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities is a show that must not be missed because you never know what you just might see inside the world of the Kurios.