‘KOOZA’ is electrifying

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Cirque du Soleil is back at its Marymoor location with its acclaimed big top production, "KOOZA."

The show continues the company’s undefeated winning streak of productions that wow audiences with their daring acrobatic feats, lavish costumes, inventive staging and rich musicianship.

The name "KOOZA" is inspired by the Sanskrit word, "koza," which means "box," "chest" or "treasure." It was selected because one of the underlying concepts of the production is the idea of a "circus in a box."

The show centers around an elfish clown called The Innocent, who is drawn into a whimsical world where a mad king presides over jesters, thieves, fools and an array of highly talented artists who defy the limits of what the human body can do.

"KOOZA is about human connection and the world of duality, good and bad," says David Shriner, the show’s writer and director. "The tone is fun and funny, light and open. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s very much about ideas, too. As it evolves, we are exploring concepts such as fear, identity, recognition and power."

The production begins with The Trickster bursting onto the scene like a jack-in-a-box right in front of The Innocent.

This limber and mysterious ringleader, who is also quite the dancer, serves as the show’s master of ceremonies, helping to thread the various acts together.

And like always, Cirque’s acts are the core of the production.

There are the contortionists, a trio of uber flexible women who twist their bodies into unimaginable shapes. It’s hard to believe their spines are made of bones and not rubber.

And then there’s a deft and agile unicyclist who never stops pedaling as he balances his female partner atop his shoulders and then twists her around his body.

A trapeze artist dangles by her ankles and four men up the ante with a high-wire performance that elicits gasps from the audience.

At one point, one man stands on a chair, which rests on a pole, that’s perched on the shoulders of two other men, who are each straddling bicycles on the wire.

There are also plenty of other usual circus staples, including trampolines, seesaws, stilts, balancing balls and spinning hoops.

But, the performances that elicit the most roars from the crowd come in the second act.

First, there’s the Wheel of Death, where a pair of men use their body weight to propel and rotate two connected, open steel cages that are connected in the middle.

They run inside and on top of them, leaping and flipping their bodies, even jump roping at one point, as the contraption hits top speeds.

The men appear to defy the laws of gravity. It’s a thrilling, heart-stopping display of incredible physical prowess.

And then there’s the chair-balancing act with a sinewy gymnast who quietly and methodically builds a 20-foot-high tower of chairs and proceeds to do a handstand atop them – the last chair, of course, is askew.

His display of muscle control and strength is remarkable.

Throughout the show, there are a number of comic characters and genuinely funny clowns that make mischief, riff with the audience, perform humorous magic routines and engage in bold, slapstick antics.There’s a dog that needs house training, a flamboyant French pickpocket who manages to fleece an audience member of his possessions, including his tie, and a pair of mischievous, badly behaved henchmen, who accompany the mad king on his inane pursuits.

"KOOZA" highlights the physical demands of human performance, but does so with a lighthearted and upbeat approach.

In this manner, the show sets itself apart from other Cirque productions that often tend to incorporate darker elements within them.

"KOOZA" is an exhilarating sensory experience full of surprises, thrills and chills … and yes, lots of laughter.

"KOOZA" runs through July 11 at Marymoor Park in Redmond. For ticket information: 1-800-450-1480 or

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter