“The Wheel of Death” (Stock Press Image Provided by Cirque du Soleil)
Disclaimer: I was offered, and accepted, two free tickets just for having a website to attend Cirque du Soleil: Kooza in St Paul. Please take the following review with as much salt as you believe is necessary following this open admission.
My wife and I headed to St Paul for the 8 PM show on Wednesday night. I was notified that parking adjacent to the temporary big-top venue was $15 but after driving around in circles I found free parking a couple of blocks away and saw several others in the 5 to 10 dollar range about a block away. There were plenty of people flooding into the venue and even more lined up at the ticket booth waiting to purchase tickets or resolve issues. The line moved slowly and some of the discussions were heated. Thankfully our tickets were easily retrieved and we were on our way inside.
After walking under the tent you were greeted by a small and very expensive stand selling your standard show fare. $7.50 bottles of beer, $12 large boxes of popcorn, etc. As usual, the Budget Nazi did not allow for any expenditures (that’s why we had to park for free) and thus we ended up taking our seats after I utilized the portable and makeshift bathrooms created from cargo containers.
Our seats were pretty fucking good. We were about 10 to 15 rows back from the front/center of the stage and we were seated with what appeared to be a couple of other local bloggers–one of whom handed me her card which had her URL (read her review of the action here). The stage is round but most of the action was facing us. Even though there were probably some high price seats closer to the stage, I thought ours offered the best view in the house and later my wife mentioned that even though we were located where we were, we still had to crane our necks to see a lot of the high flying action so it’s possible that those seated all the way against the back wall might have a better advantage there.
Some clowning around and direct audience interaction was going on prior to the show and it reminded me of Tony and Tina’s Wedding when we saw it in Vegas back in 2006. Eventually things started to speed up and the show was set to begin. I watched everything carefully as I had absolutely no idea what was about to come as I didn’t read anything aside from a quick blurb which appeared in/on MinnPost. The theatrics, lights, and music were spectacular. I have to say that I was absolutely blown away by everything there. I’m not usually a fan of stage theater but this was definitely my thing and I decided right there and there that if/when they return to MSP (or if I ever return to Vegas), I’m going again for sure.
The many acts of comedy, clowning, theatrics, and music were between set changes for the main acts which included double-tightrope walking/biking, the Wheel of Death (pictured above), juggling (which the blogger whom I linked to above was far less impressed with than I was–although I did notice the lack of fire throughout the entire ordeal), incredible acts of physical strength and flexibility. While I will save the spoilers for each of the other acts to someone’s own imagination, I cannot pass up the opportunity to gush over the “Wheel of Death”. This large metal contraption was spinning with one performer walking on the outside and literally leaping through the air and floating down, sometimes while flailing his arms–I assume for show?–to meet the scary device as it spun before it sped away from his outstretched limbs. It not only had me on the edge of my seat but it literally had my heart in my throat and nearly caused me to close my eyes on several occasions. IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE people and believe me, I normally don’t get excited for much but this, this was something you just have to see to believe.
Now, again, as I stated above, I received my tickets for free and while I implore you to attend this incredible event as they have recently added more shows through August 9th. If you’re interested you can get discounted tickets through this link (no, I don’t get any additional kickbacks) for as little as $42 for an adult, although I recommend sitting elsewhere to have an unobstructed view of the entire show. I’m not going to lie to you, this is an expensive event, especially if you want the good seats. I believe our seats may have been in the $125 range (each). If you have the disposable income, I do suggest you get out there and see it for yourself but please be aware that some of the clowning may not be suitable for young and impressionable children as some of it was a tad bit sexual and/or related to bodily function.
That all said, an absolutely amazing show and a wonderful experience and one I highly recommend you check out before this circus moves on to the next town!
Have you seen Cirque du Soleil’s show either here or elsewhere? Have you seen Kooza or any of their other performances? What did you think? How do they compare to other shows of this type? Whatever you think, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.