Cirque du Soleil’s latest show is a total, complete jaw drop

I won’t waste your time by explaining how impressive a Cirque du Soleil show is; that’s like stating that the moon is really, really far away or that, sometimes when you go into the ocean, you get pretty wet.

If you go

United Center under the Grand Chapiteau

1901 W. Madison St.

Through September 20, 2015

Cirque du Soleil deals in the art of the jaw drop. That’s what they do.

That’s not to say that once you’ve seen one Cirque show, you’ve seen them all. Not in the slightest. Case in point is the newest offering to grace Chicago’s theatre scene, the stunningly beautiful KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities.

Director Michel Laprise aimed to create a world apart from any other in the Cirque canon, and boy, did he deliver. Set in a familiar-yet-ethereal late 19th century, the show has a gorgeous steampunk aesthetic and Victorian appeal.

It opens with a “locomotive” pulling into the station and off-loading passengers unlike any you’ve ever met, as well as a Seeker with a curio cabinet stocked with eye-popping wonders.

Circus-like acts (with unmistakably Cirque twists) follow in rapid succession: a human trapeze with characters from a music box, contortionists who make you consider eels in a whole new light, an aviator balancing on the rola bola (and then that on a trapeze) and an upside-down, chair-balancing dinner party are just a few of the truly amazing moments.

Multiple times during the show I pinpointed my favorite set of performers, only to question my choice with the next act. And the next. For two hours. How do you choose among the roof-skimming “underwater” Acro Net, the graceful aerial bicyclist or the swing-town vibe of the 13-person acrobatic Banquine? You don’t. You can’t.

The haunting soundtrack is wonderfully offset by charming and interactive projected vignettes, hilarious pantomimes and soaring vocals.

Decidedly Gallic but with universal appeal, KURIOS will ignite your passion for spectacle while challenging perception and even perspective. You might even find yourself wondering when, exactly, your family became caricatures of spectators, ooh-ing and gasping with great exaggeration at the incredible feats being performed before your very eyes.

But just go with it. Because you, your children and everyone else around you will become that caricature, and happily and excitedly so.

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