Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG



When you have a ratings system based on stars and BANGS, there is only one way to rate the new Cirque du Soleil show KOOZA: Star! BANG! Another BANG! Another Star! Whooo, did you see that? STAR! BANG! BANG!

This is a magnificent show. Gone are (most of) the irritating features for which Cirque du Soleil has become infamous, like canned music and (some of the) idiotic warbling in made-up languages that sound like Elves broke into the syntax machine. The show is backed by a terrific live band and, Glory to God, at one point they roll a riser to center ring and a fabulous drummer takes a featured solo!

Production values are still state-of-the-art, but they do not dominate. Kooza is a return to the old days of Cirque du Soleil, where the show is about the circus acts, not vice-versa.



And those circus acts! Kooza has ten, in this order:

1) Contortion OH MY GOD! BANG!
2) Solo Trapeze
3) Duo Unicycle HOLY SHMOLY! BANG!
4) Clowns
5) Highwire

(INTERMISSION: Buy bad coffee for $3.50 and T-shirts for $45 whose sizes have been modeled by three-foot-tall clowns. The extra-large wouldn't fit your cat. Some things never change.)

6) Wheel of Death. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS. BANG!
7) Pickpocket
8) Juggling THE BEST JUGGLER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! BANG!
9) Chairs Balancing NO! NO! PLEASE DON'T TRY THE ONE ARMED HAND STAND ON THAT LITTLE TEETERING CHAIR FIFTY FEET IN THE AIR! OHMIGOD HE DID IT! BANG!
10)Teeter Board

Through it all, clowns run amok, the sets are outlandishly cool, you've got lights and smoke and cannons firing confetti and the big top in the Giants Stadium parking lot is cozy and packed and it all feels like a major Big-E Event.



RATINGS: ☼☼☼☼ BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG

The SF Theater Blog Awards Division awards Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA Four Stars with five BANGS. Yes, that's a lot of BANGS for the buck. But this is one of those rare occasions where big bucks and big sponsorship translates into brilliance. No middle-of-the-road play-it-safe stuff here, only one giant intake of breath after another. The three women contortionists at the beginning, the extraordinary dancing pair who somehow make you forget he is riding a unicycle, the absolutely heart-stopping wheel of death and the magically understated gymnast in a white thong balancing on ever-higher constructions of chairs -- well.

Don't miss KOOZA. This reviewer, a noted cheapskate, is thinking about tickets for the family for Christmas. That ought to tell you something.

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Big Top in the parking lot at AT&T Park (Giants Stadium)
Third Street at Terry Francois Boulevard
Tue-Sun through January 8
$38.50-$90

1 comment:

Round Robin said...

My goodness! Great review, such fun to read. But I know you well enough to know that you STILL won't buy tickets for the whole family. And the wheel of death sounds too scary for me to risk; would make me worry too much about you know who....