Cirque du Soleil’s KOOZA; a review


A theatrical company with a prestigious reputation, the progressive and inspiring Cirque du Soleil have been wow-ing audiences around the world since their founding in 1984. Currently, it is the largest theatrical production company in the world, delivery multiple shows at many locations simultaneously.

KOOZA itself first premiered in 2007, and has been touring ever since. Its longevity testament to the performers who are brought in and its timeless story-line that truly resonates with the audience. It follows the journey of “the Innocent”, a naive child-like character who is blissfully unaware of the world around him.

Staged in a performance space inspired by a traditional touring circus tent, the performance itself utilises clowning in combination with acrobatics to create a breathtaking piece of work that leaves you spellbound and on the edge of your seat. Each “act” typifies another stage in the Innocents journey, with comic relief provided in the form of the King of Fools and his two clown sidekicks. Meanwhile the “ringmaster” character – known as “The Trickster” – constantly enables the performance to move forward with aplomb.

Watching the cast of KOOZA perform, it is hard to describe them as anything other than athletes. They are at the peak of their physical powers, pushing themselves beyond the boundary of what could be expected. The risk involved should not be taken lightly either, with several deaths haunting the troupe over the last couple of years, although none of them in this particular touring show.

Technically, this show cannot be described as anything other than a triumph. From the carefully orchestrated scenes, to the deliberate foot positions, and the well-organised “distractions” to mask the scene changes, everything had its place and nothing could be deemed unnecessary.

Superlatives constantly roll off the tongue, and none of the praise unwarranted. In spite of their reputation, many of the work must truly be seen to believe. And whilst some may scoff at their ticket prices, I would argue that they are a bargain when compared to some other shows that honestly cannot compete with what they offer.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t a great review, but the spectacle that is KOOZA is hard to put into words. If the opportunity ever comes your way – or if another Cirque du Soliel show comes to a city near you – don’t think twice. Don’t worry about the cost. Just go,


#104 – Watch a show at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

‘Cornwall’s extraordinary Minack Theatre is testimony
to one woman’s passion’
Philip Johnston

The Minack Theatre is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful performance space I have ever had the pleasure of watching theatre in. Carved into the edge of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, this seasonal outdoor venue stands strong against the elements to deliver unique theatrical experiences to its audience.

The Minack Theatre has wowed audiences since the 1930s, with the threat of neither wind nor rain able to keep willing patrons at bay.


#42 – Go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

‘Edinburgh is a beautiful city and has
a wonderful tradition of supporting the arts’
– Peter Hambleton

I’ve always had a wonderful relationship with Edinburgh. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the city quite as much as I should have done, but ever since my 18th birthday I have put in a lot of effort to get to know it better.

It’s due to my mothers branch of the family that this connection to the city exists. Although born in Essex, they relocated to just outside Edinburgh (a place called Musselburgh) when she was like three or something. Anyway, they are still there and my mum still holds a strong affinity to Scotland.

One of Edinburgh’s biggest attractions is the fringe festival, one of the largest arts festivals in the world. (more…)

#40 – Watch a show on London’s West End

‘The way the world is, I think a silly evening in the theatre is a good thing,
to take our minds off terror’
– Tim Curry

I am a very fortunate man. The older I get, the more fortunate I realise my childhood was, especially when it came to the arts. Although my parents weren’t involved in creating art directly, they ensured that I was constantly exposed to it.

Now, I’m not exactly sure when my first West End performance was, or what it was. All I know is that I have been fortunate enough to have seen plenty of shows there. In fact, I once tried to make a list of all the pieces of theatre I have seen and just ended up completely lost because not only have I seen them all over the country, but because every single London show that has a UK tour ends up coming to my hometown – Milton Keynes.

I do have a couple of favourites though. Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You because, well, Queen songs. (more…)

‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ – Opening Night Review

Before I begin, I understand that I am a little bit late to the party. The UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, starring Lee Mead and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious, first hit the stage  a week ago on Wednesday 4th May. I was amongst the ones lucky enough to be in the audience that night.

One of the most exciting things about being in the audience waiting for it all to begin was seeing the variety of ages that were present, from the young children sat behind me. And why shouldn’t there be? For whatever reason, CCBB is timeless. In the original film, Dick van Dyke’s performance is one that transcends time. Classic’s like Me Ol’ Bamboo and Toot Sweets inspire joy, whilst not knowing the chorus to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the song that draws its name from Ian Fleming’s fantasmagorical machine) would leave you in a minority.

Clearly then, this cast had a big billing to live up too.


‘An Inspector Calls’ – A Short Review

Critical of the actions, attitude, and ignorance of the aristocracy, you could make the argument for Stephen Daldry’s revival of J.B. Priestly’s much acclaimed play An Inspector Calls being as much a criticism of today’s society as of the Edwardian/Victorian world it was originally written about.

Originally written between 1944-1945, Priestly’s play follows the Birling’s, a prosperous family celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila (Katherine Jack) to fellow member of the elite Gerald Croft (Matthew Douglas). Their evening, however, is interrupted by the arrival of Inspector Goole (Liam Brennan) and slowly their world begins to unravel.


‘Beyond the Barricade’ – A Short Review

Entering its 17th year, Beyond the Barricade dubs itself as a ‘musical theatre concert tour’, where a quartet of former Les Miserables principle cast members deliver a show filled with hits from a score of West End shows. However in my opinion, it was more akin to a tasting menu at a restaurant than anything else.

With songs from 14 of the biggest and best musicals to have ever graced London’s West End there was something for everyone, but despite this the overall experience was disjointed and underwhelming. Aside from the odd moment here and there it was really difficult to get into and in the end I found myself willing for it to finish, which wasn’t fair on either the performers or the musicians involved.

That was my issue with the whole evening, everything was an “almost” or a “nearly” but not quite there.


‘The Book of Mormon’ – A Short Review

Winner of the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical and created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (best known for South Park and Team America) in collaboration with Robert Lopez (co-composer/co-lyricist of Avenue Q), The Book of Mormon presents itself as a religious satire musical but at the same time it is so much more.

Lets put it out there right away, The Book of Mormon is not politically correct. In fact, it is quite possibly as far from being PC as possible. Within the walls of the Prince of Wales Theatre you are exposed to jokes about racism, bestiality, blasphemy and child-murder/rape. From a ‘traditional African send-off’ [which involved a black woman dressed Rafiki from The Lion King], to alluding to the infamous General Butt Naked, there is no stone that Parker and Stone leave unturned in their chase for musical success.

Yet, I left that theatre with one word ringing in my mind; clever. By no means might this opinion be shared and maybe I only hold it because I like to believe that there was more to The Book of Mormon than a musical designed to be obscene and vulgar, but I found it to be clever.