Cirque du Soleil is back in Gatineau with KOOZA! According to the website, the show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement, and explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power. For the audience, that means stunning costumes, high-energy stunts, and incredible live music. Whether it’s your first Cirque du Soleil show or not, prepare to be blown away.
Viewing the Big Top as you approach the site, it’s hard not to get excited about the evening ahead. On opening night, performers and musicians were interacting with guests outside the tent. That interaction continued as guests took their seats and we waited for the show to begin. A few performers roamed the audience, tossing popcorn into open mouths, checking out hairstyles, or interacting with props. The physical humour and over-the-top nature of their activities had everyone hooked.
KOOZA is presented in two parts, with an intermission (long enough to pick up snacks from the on-site concession). Without spoiling the show, there is plenty to look forward to as you accompany the Innocent on a journey meeting the King, the Trickster, the Clowns, and his Mad Dog. “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,” says the show’s writer and director David Shiner. KOOZA premiered in Montreal in 2007 and has played in 22 countries since that time. The cast and crew represent 24 nationalities, with more than 100 people travelling with the tour, including 52 artists.
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Taking place under the Big Top at Place des Festivals ZIBI, there’s plenty to enjoy before the show itself. If walking, cross either the Alexandra or Portage Bridges and enjoy a stroll through Gatineau’s Sentier Culture (Culture Trail). Or go all out and zipline your way across the river—one way to make an entrance! With matinée and evening shows, find time to grab a bite to eat at Brasseurs du temps (a 15-minute walk from KOOZA) or a nearby patio on Rue Laval or Rue Kent. Snap a photo at Place Aubry, beautifully decorated with a canopy of butterflies, an installation called Des ailes pour notre région by Samuelle Desjardins.
Tickets for KOOZA under the Big Top at Place des Festivals ZIBI (60 Rue Jos-Montferrand) are available online starting at $60, including accessible tickets. The show is 2 hours and 10 minutes with a 30 minute intermission, and runs August 26-September 25, 2022.