By Audrey Fukuman
Better than: French Laundry.
Download: Some Kooza youtube (safe for work)
Cirque Du Soleil is known for thrilling and engaging the crowd, and opening night Friday November 16 in San Francisco was no different. The French production company resurrected traditional acts of circuses past – clowns, trapese artists, contortionists and the like – but they did it with Cirque professionalism.
Being a big fan, I am biased to love every bit of the show which runs in SF through January 20. Based on the reactions of the audience, I wasn’t the only one. The crowd cheered in unison during stunts, gasping as the performers reached scary heights. The only time you could’ve gotten bored was waiting in line for the restroom.
One thing you can always count on:
the immediate feeling of being sucked into Cirque's imaginary world. The characters are very playful and although I am not a big fan of clowns (thanks to Stephen King), these guys were adorable. The interaction with the audience always gets a laugh out of me.
But beside that, the stage design was a thing of beauty. The dramatic colors and the usage of the stage, the costumes and the make-up never bores. I deliberately avoid commercials or banners with images from the show because it ruins the excitement. Just a side comment:
For those of you who say “I’ve seen that show… on DVD/TV” - Well, NO you haven’t! It’s like saying you watched the Cal game (on TV) – but is it the same as watching it live?!
I was not impressed with the tight seating; I was sitting next to a very tall, broad-shouldered man… at least he didn’t smell. The sound mix also suffered from a swamped vocalist who took a back seat in Kooza, whereas in Dralion and Quidam he played a bigger role.
Overall it was a great show - it’s hard to imagine that you are watching this in a big tent in a parking lot. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to see another Cirque creation, because you never know what you are going to experience.
Personal Bias: Magnifique!
Random Detail: The bright strobe lights reminded me of those Japanese kids who went into seizures during a flashing cartoon. And if I’m not mistaken, which I could be, I swear I saw Jamie Hyneman (co-host of Mythbusters) in the crowd.