In Renaissance Europe, cabinets of curiosities or ‘cabinets of wonder’ were collections of uncategorized, unusual, interesting and rather odd objects. Curiosities could include anything from undefined bones, seashells, taxidermy, and pebbles to crystals, egg shells, dried leaves, flowers, insect specimens, trinkets, artifacts and art. (Sounds like my youngest daughter’s bedroom)
Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios is a dream-like cabinet of wonder, brimming with steampunk-themed objects, puzzling characters, marvelous performances and breathtaking environments, all brought to life by the hands of a brilliant inventor.
This is a review of our entire Kurios Cabinet Des Curiosites experience.
My daughters and I attended the Kurios performance in Houston, Texas, at the Sam Houston Race Park on April 9, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. It was our first time to see a Cirque du Soleil show.
Several days before the performance, I received a very detailed email from Cirque du Soleil with information about the venue and directions. (Thank you Cirque du Soleil!)
Parking was $12.00, which I felt was too high, and only cash was accepted, though there was an ATM outside the parking lot. Three parking lot attendants collected parking fees and several other attendants directed traffic to control the flow to the parking spaces. The process was quick and organized.
We walked from the car to the main entrance and went through the bag check security point. The officers checked my bag and my daughter’s purse. I always appreciate extra security and safety.
The energy and intrigue began as soon as we stepped inside the yellow and blue striped big top tents.
Concessions selling popcorn, bottled water and snacks were on the right and Cirque Du Soleil merchandise booths were on our left.
A few props and photo opportunities were placed throughout the main tent. Stringed lights lit the area, but the layout was very confusing and crowded.
We walked through the main tent and back out into the blazing sun and walked into a second tent marked with the numbers of the even sections.
A few portable bathrooms labeled for men, women, unisex and families were posted between the other yellow and blue striped tents. The bathrooms were clean, though tiny. The sinks provided non-potable water, soap and paper towels for hand washing. There was a wheelchair accessible ramp on one of the units.
After we used the restroom, we were directed to go into the tent entrance with the door number from our tickets, which was 8.
Each numbered door had an entrance that looked like the below picture, with outdoor benches and trash cans. The doors were clearly marked.
A friendly usher helped us find our seats, which were in section 104, row D, seats 24, 25 and 26. I paid $136.00 total for each ticket.
There was a bridge traversing the stage that guests could walk across before the show began and my youngest daughter was thrilled to go across and catch a glimpse of some backstage props. While the seats were filling up, several performers entertained the early birds with quick skits and shenanigans.
Once the lights dimmed, photography and video recording was not allowed.
Kurios was approximately 2 hours long, with a 25 minute intermission.
The mesmerizing experience started with a show defining vignette–a grey-haired man in a white lab coat appeared to be laboriously working to accomplish something very important. Several unusual mechanical robots and wacky inventions were littered across the stage.
At first, I could not figure out if the man was a frustrated science professor, evil genius, or brilliant inventor. I kept looking around for clues.
Centered in the middle of the stage, the inventor worked diligently and with urgency to tether and link an enormous chair to poles. Simulated sounds of electricity traveling through the cables made it clear that something was about to happen.
Immediately, everything transformed into a surrealist perspective of reality and the captivating performances began.
Full of energy, surprise, intrigue and amazement, each segment took the traditional expectation of a ‘circus’ and injected hypnotic, thought-provoking shock and wonder scenes, creating a memorable and extraordinary experience.
A gigantic mechanical hand formed the base for a beautifully fluid contortion act, where the women’s interesting costumes resembled blue-ringed octopi and electric eels.
Rola Bola’s baffling aviator-themed balancing act was breathtaking and fearless.
A precise and skilled violin master played music while a talented woman sang beautifully during the entire show.
Multiple inventive and ingenious acrobatic performances captivated my daughters.
Our favorite was the trampoline AcroNet acrobats, which tumbled, flipped, flew and spun through the air as if they were aquatic creatures gliding through the tranquil ocean.
A woman gracefully sailed above the stage, while performing dazzling maneuvers around a bicycle. Two talented men used large straps to swoop and zoom high above the awestruck audience.
The most marvelous and almost confusing moment was when we realized there was an actual dinner party with an elaborately set table, food and guests, mirrored in a parallel universe high above the stage and sinking down from the ceiling. The spellbinding moment still repeats over and over again in my mind’s eye.
The actors filmed a bizarre and unconventional ‘movie’ using only their hands as the main characters. I loved it!
A traveling steam train transporting passengers parked right in the middle of the stage, unloading all kinds of unexpected, Victorian-era characters. The constant movement and captivating interactions between the actors produced a multi-sensory experience.
During the entire Kurios show, I was reminded of the puzzling and bewildered feeling one experiences when attending a Blue Man Group performance. My daughters and I took what we saw on stage and processed the images for several days. I appreciate a puzzling experience that challenges perception and forces unconscious thoughts about existence and reality.
We missed about 40% of one act because our view was blocked by stage props and the performance solely faced the centermost seats. However, it was a quick scene with a man pretending to be a cat on a couch. Though frustrating, we did not allow it to erase any magic from the entire experience.
Our biggest complaint was the actual ‘big top’ venue–it was so very hot during the entire performance, I actually saw an audience member collapse. People were sweating profusely and constantly fanning themselves. It was absolutely miserable. Unfortunately, the heat was distracting and certainly aggravating.
After the performance, my daughters and I went to dinner and drank an obscene amount of ice water.
Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios was an alluring, steampunk-inspired, dazzling show with gripping and entertaining performances by amazingly talented people. It is family-friendly and completely appropriate for all ages.
Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios experience can be seen in Houston, Texas, until May 21, 2017.
Shows are held inside the Grand Chapiteau at the Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston, Texas, 77064.
Tickets can be purchased online here.
Interested in other amazing surrealism experiences? Click here to read all about the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Are you curious about homeschooling? Click here to read 5 reasons why we chose to homeschool our profoundly gifted daughters.