When our four sons were much younger we once took them to a Cirque du Soleil show. It was fantastic. Many different shows have come to Melbourne over the years but we hadn’t found the time to go. So this year when they came to Melbourne with their show, Kooza, Karen and I decided to buy two tickets and go. It was being held at Flemington racecourse in a field at about the 1000 metre mark. As it turned out it was a race day so we decided to take the tram out there. The problem with that idea was dozens of others had also decided to catch the tram. So after a very squeezy ride we hopped off and started the short walk down to where Le Grand Chapiteau was situated.
We made our way in and were ushered to our seats which were in a good position about twelve rows back from the front. I should point out that apart from the photo above all the other photos in this post are from either the Kooza website or The Age newspaper, who did a review of the show. Once the show starts photography isn’t permitted.
At first a small group of clowns came out and played around. It was mildly amusing but certainly had everyone in the mood when the show’s opening number with a large troupe came out. During the show they would make a number of reappearances with a central character to link the acts.
Following that two contortionists came out. They could easily have been twin contortionists. Their performance was amazing. It is hard to believe that a human body could assume such amazing positions both individually and together.
Following that a unicyclist duo cycled onto the stage. at first it was just the male unicyclist but pretty quickly his female partner joined in. The main twirled the lady around, all the time maintaining his balance and cycling around. At one point both pedalled the unicycle around as the maintained balance and their grip on each other.
A trio of double high wire trapeze artists were next. Yes, I know the photo below shows four. As there is a slight variation from time to time due to illness or injury we only had three perform for us. The balance and skill was amazing.
Next we had an aerial hoop trapeze girl. She performed way up above us and her dexterity, strength and all round gymnastic ability was fantastic. There was another act but sadly my old brain can’t recall it. All I do remember is that about this time we had a break of about twenty minutes for intermission.
The second half of the show started with a troupe of Skeleton dancers. Quite spectacular.
Next up was a lady whose act involved hoop manipulation. At first she started with one hoop and did some hula hoop routines, as time went by an assistant passed her extra hoops. So after a while she was twirling hoops around her waist, neck, arms and legs. It was either six or seven hoops in all by the time she reached the finally movement of her act.
Next came a single performer using what is known as a Cyr Wheel. Whilst rolling it around the stage he managed to do lots of different gymnastic moves within the huge hoop. His stamina and strength were great.
For Karen and I the ultimate act was the Wheel of Death. It’s hard to describe and the photo only shows half of the apparatus they used. It was like a double hamster wheel with an axle linking them. The first performer came out and jumped into the first wheel and by running hectically around managed to take his way way up into the top of the tent, before balancing it above the second wheel. After he commence running again a second performer ran and jumped into the other wheel. With the two of them now running like hamsters they manage to keep the two wheels rotating around the axis point. The stamina and strength were amazing as their act went for about fifteen minutes. The finale saw the first man leave his wheel but after a circuit by the other man he ran and jumped on the outside of his wheel. As his wheel rotated to a peak he started to jump as he ran. At one point he appeared to lose his balance but I’m sure this occurred on a nightly basis. It certainly was the most thrilling and dangerous act.
The final act involved a troupe of about a dozen teeterboard acrobats. They use the teeterboard to amazing effect. Two of the larger members of the group would jump on the raised teeterboard and propel a smaller lady or man into the air and they would be caught safely. As the act went on the gymnast being propelled into the air donned stilts to increase the level of difficulty. At one point the gymnast being launched into the air was caught by a pair of others standing on top of each other creating a human tower. It was certainly skilful.
The finale of the show saw all the performs return to the stage in a colourful ending. It had been a wonderful show demonstrating the flexibility, strength, agility, balance, stamina, timing, precision and humour of which humans are capable. Well worth seeing.