Cirque du Soleil: Kooza


As expected, opening night of Cirque Du Soleil’s KOOZA saw a full (and star-studded) house take their seats inside the trademark blue-and-yellow Big Top currently located at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse. Returning to its origins, the world-renowned French-Canadian company served up the intimacy of a smaller circus reliant on nothing more than incredible acrobatic talent, charming comedic elements and sheer charisma.
With the smell of popcorn in the air, the show officially began with the Innocent (Vladislav Zolotarev) being drawn into the Trickster’s (Mike Tyus) self-created, alluring realm. Before long, the Trickster had electrified the stage by calling upon the live band and unveiling a stunning stage centrepiece.
For the first official act for the night, the house troupe threw themselves into ‘Charivari’ – an acrobatic act that took the human pyramid to entirely new heights. Amongst the twirling bodies was one of Melbourne’s own, Laura Kmetko. Wearing beautifully crafted costumes and performing to a live soundtrack of jazz, funk and Bollywood-inspired music, it’s clear the minds behind KOOZA thought about every single minute detail.
‘Contortion’, ‘Cerceau’, otherwise known as aerial hoops and the ‘Unicycle Duo’ followed and proved that the fundamentals of circus performance have certainly not been forgotten. Nevertheless, the ‘High Wire’ act was the first of the night to defy belief and truly thrill the audience. Utilising two individual wires at different heights, the four-piece from Spain and Colombia took on fencing dual and a bicycle ride to remember. Bringing the show to its interval, there was certainly an excited atmosphere set for the performer’s return.  
Irina Akimova held the honour of ‘Hoops Manipulation’ for the night and used subtle movements to hypnotise with her multiple speeding rings. It wouldn’t be a circus without a couple of Court Clowns and their King, and KOOZA did not disappoint
The last solo performance of the night, Yao Deng Bo’s chair balancing act reaches all new heights and closing the show, the ‘Teeterboard’ spectacular is an energetic almost-ending. Last but certainly not least, the final scene to Cirque Du Soleil’s production is a stirring moment; it is completely unexpected in such a setting, yet absolutely welcomed.
Simply put, Circque Du Soliel’s KOOZA leaves audiences immersed in a visual and auditory experience unlike any other. There’s no wonder the show’s name translates to “treasure”.
By Phoebe Robertson 

KOOZA runs inside the Big Top at Flemington Racecourse until Sunday March 26. Tickets via www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza.