When CC and I drove to Santa Monica last week to see our first Cirque du Soleil performance, “Kooza,” the air was misty and cold, and the company’s signature blue-and-yellow big top seemed to appear out of nowhere, a moonlit mirage at the Santa Monica Pier.
That mysterious setting, and so close to Halloween, only made for the start of an intriguing evening, a dreamlike experience so well conjured by the multicultural Cirque cast.
When I was invited to attend a performance of “Kooza,” which is in Santa Monica through Nov. 29, I wondered if I could even bring CC. After all, Cirque shows aren’t necessarily known for catering to the sippy-cup set.
But CC was more than welcome, and she even charmed the row in front of us with her spontaneous laughter and shout-outs to the stage.
“Kooza” is the story of The Innocent, who is searching for his place in the world and gets swept up into a mysterious (there’s that word again) place filled with a colorful and irreverent cast of characters, all presented to him by an agile guide, aka The Trickster, who sometimes likes to cause lightning storms and laugh menacingly.
Some of the highlights included a trio of raucous clowns who played with a dog that actually urinated on the audience. On purpose! Perhaps not surprisingly, CC got the biggest kick out of him and kept shouting for “Puppy! Puppy!” whenever the costumed actor wasn’t onstage.
There were also acrobats and tight-rope walkers, a man who seemed to defy gravity with a stack of chairs, a clever pickpocket and my personal favorite – a frighteningly talented juggler who looked like Kevin Dillon wearing a disco ball.
It was a late evening, complete with a 30-minute intermission, but CC was a trooper, as usual. She stayed up till the end, until the puppy made his curtain call and waved goodbye, till the last clown left the stage.
“Bye-bye, Circus,” she said as we left the tent. And we re-boarded the Big Blue Bus back into the misty Santa Monica night.
Cirque du Soleil's 'Kooza'
Under the Grand Chapiteau at the Santa Monica Pier
Oct. 16-Nov. 29
Photo credits: OSA Images