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Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities’ a show for all ages

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities’ a show for all ages
Cirque Du Soleil’s “Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities” performers depict electric eels dancing on a mechanical hand. (Photo: Photo: Martin Girard)

Known the world over for its breathtaking and spectacular shows such as “Varekai – Tales of the Forest,” “OVO,” “Totem,” “Amaluna,” and “O,” Cirque du Soleil has brought its newest and its 35th show, “Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities” to Boston — now running under The Big Top at Suffolk Downs through July 10.

Two years in the making, from inception to its first live performance, “Kurios” is written and directed by Michel Laprise, who has been a part of the creative team since 2000. The show, described via email as an “Amazing acrobatics performed by talented and charismatic artists featured in a Steampunk set and story,” by Amélie Robitaille, the touring publicist of Kurios — Cirque’s latest show appeals to all ages and brings out the inner child in all of us.

Kurios is a magical universe set in the Victorian era where the imagination has no boundaries, and all is possible. The show is filled with a cast of unique and colorful characters ranging from The Seeker known as the “Master of the House” and The Curiosistanians, the inhabitants of an imaginary country called Curiosistan to Microcosmos, the leader of the group and “the embodiment of technological progress.” There’s also the artist known as Mini Lili who stands just three feet two inches tall and weighs 39 pounds, and is a painter, actress and a poetess, who represents the unconscious mind of Mr. Microcosmos. Mini Lili also just happens to live inside his overcoat.

It wouldn’t be a Cirque production without a host of imaginative and awe-inspiring acts such as an aerial bicyclist, an invisible circus, a strongman and a porcelain face doll known as the “Russian Cradle Duo,” underwater creatures who pirouette on a net that covers the entire stage, and an artist who only uses his fingers to tell a story in “Theater of Hands,” just to name a few.

One of the most visually stunning segments includes four contortionists costumed as deep-sea creatures that embody electric eels in blazing colors of blue, green and yellow. The four perform in a fluid yet fast-paced motion inside the Seeker’s cabinet, while using a giant Mechanical Hand as their platform.

From its humble beginnings of approximately 20 street performers in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Québec City in Canada in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has scaled to 4,000 employees, of which 1,300 artists are from more than 50 different countries. The company has performed in front of close to 160 million spectators in more than 400 cities in over 60 countries on six continents.

Meanwhile, “Kurios” features a cast of 46 artists from 15 different countries including Russia, Poland, Taiwan, France, Ukraine, Greece, Canada, and the United States.

Bayarma Zodboeva, captain of the contortionists, landed her first contract with Cirque on the show “Iris” in Los Angeles in 2011. She began performing professionally at the age of 16 years old in her native Russia and has been working and training with the three other contortionists in circus school since they were all 10 years of age. This tightknit group who are more like sisters have lived and traveled the world together.

Of life on the road, Zodboeva says one of the best things “is that you can see the world of course, and see all the beautiful places, beautiful countries and meet people and see all the cultures, and how people eat all around the world.” When asked what she hopes that audiences take away when they see Kurios, she said, “the first thing I think is inspiration, kindness and joy, and that anything is possible.”

After Boston, the show heads to Washington, D.C., then on to New York City and Miami before touring North America for another year and a half. According to Robitaille, “it will most likely be touring around the world for the next 10 years.”

For those who’ll experience “Kurios” for the first time while it’s in Boston, Robitaille’s advice is to get ready to “get immersed in an uplifting universe where you will believe anything is possible!”