- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2016


If the combined dreams of Guillermo Del Toro, Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet had a baby that crossbred with Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and then raised by P.T. Barnum, you would have the magnanimous, singularly amazing show from Cirque du Soleil called “Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities,” playing at Tysons II in Tysons, Virginia, through Sept. 18.

Long known for their thoroughly imaginative, intricately staged shows, Cirque du Soleil has done it again with “Kurios,” whose “story,” such as it were, has an inventor — who looks like Doc Brown occupying the backroom of the “Delicatessen” set — falling asleep in his oddball laboratory, and then finds himself in a world of curiosities and the wonderfully grotesque.

All of whom, it must be said, are in possession of superhuman acrobatic abilities.

From the strongman who tosses a trapeze artist around in the heights with his bare hands to the Chinese contortionists and a chair act that somehow melds two worlds in three-dimensional oneness, “Kurios” offers nearly three hours of adrenaline-filled showmanship of the highest order — all of it infused with a childlike wonder and frequently a humorous edge. There’s a hand puppet show the likes of which you have never seen, and the comic relief of the showman who hosts both the “invisible circus” and also pulls a female audience member onstage for the old “get closer to her on the couch” gag, but this time making use of animal mimicry and sound effects to “impress” the hapless young lady.

Too many compliments cannot be heaped upon this stellar production, with able blocking and staging by creator Michel Laprise that challenges the eyeball to follow every action, every movement, every loveably grotesque character that graces the tent’s stage. There’s even a little person, a lady who somehow is both narrator and curiosity. A superbly realized second-act trampoline net routine will touch the inner youngster in everyone.

Awe. Majesty. Grace. Showmanship. This is live entertainment of the first order, and the sheer artistry and daredevil majesty of “Kurios” must be seen to be believed.

“Kurios” runs at Tysons II in Tysons, Virginia, though Sep. 18. Tickets range from $38 to $295 by going to CirqueduSoleil.com/usa/washington/kurios/buy-tickets.

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