By Matt Bearden

Photos: Matthew Tsang

The Canadian circus, Cirque du Soleil, premiered their KURIOS —Cabinet of Curiosities on October 6 at Atlantic Station. KURIOS first made its debut on April 24, 2014, and is Cirque’s 35th production. KURIOS is an entertaining tale about various characters in a fantastical, steam-punk reality. The show starts with a merry band of travelers that moves through the audience and leads to the stage, where a world-class performance of juggling, singing, dancing, contorting, and acrobatics takes place. KURIOS takes on traditional circus acts and motifs with the whimsical flare that is quintessential Cirque du Soleil with dramatic makeup, multi-textured costumes, and daredevil tricks. 

Seeped in bronze and brass, blue and green color, the stage uses props such as an oversized book featuring the Cradle Duo; an invisible circus comedic act led by Facundo Giminez; a large mechanical hand for the four contortionists; a wide net for the reptilian Acro Net act; an airplane for the rola bota; and a table and chairs for the mind-bending Upside Down World hand-balancing act featuring Andrii Bondarenko. The stage opens for the Aerial Bike, where a beautiful woman weaves through her bike in midair (and upside down)! The Siamese twins perform the Aerial Straps Duo, a highly poetic performance that tells a story of strength, grace, masculine physique, and partnership. Audiences will be captivated by the Theatre of Hands and Yo-Yo acts for their charm, whimsicality, and humor. Each act demonstrates astonishing skills that will leave audiences smiling, gasping, and laughing from the sheer talent and joy these artists demonstrate. 

KURIOS’s time run is two hours in our reality, but only one minute in the Cirque reality. In the backdrop, a clock that slowly changes pre-show to reach 11:11. By the show’s end, the clock reads 11:12. Only one minute in this fantastical reality! The audience is immersed in a time-holds-no-bounds steam-punk world as the performers share the show’s story: “a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes. In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden, invisible world—a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting.” 

The story for KURIOS reaches a cerebral level that some audience members could be left unsure how each marvelous act connects. Viewers will undoubtedly recognize the signature Cirque du Soleil flare, recognizing each act stems from “traditional” circus acts (ringleader, juggler, acrobatics, arial, etc.). KURIOS certainly reaches a realm, unlike the cirque’s other shows, making it a standout. Audiences should see this otherworldly experience during the tour’s Atlanta tenure: October 6 through December 24. In fact, they should see it multiple times. Probably the best two hours one could spend. Each seat under the big top will give viewers the perfect view of KURIOS—Cabinet of Curiosities!