Cirque du Soleil has returned to Atlanta. Photo by Janelle Ward/The Atlanta Voice

The cast of Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities” opened their three-month-long residency in Atlantic Station with an energetic performance filled with tricks, comedy and child-like wonder.

“Kurios” made its debut in Canada in 2014 and is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th show since the entertainment company’s founding in 1984. The show features 46 cast members hailing from 16 countries.

The show’s opening night attracted audiences of all ages and backgrounds – couples on date nights, families with small children, teenagers and celebrities like musicians Baby Tate and Jacob Latimore and numerous cast members from the popular reality television show, “Love Is Blind”.

“Kurios” combines the timeless aesthetic of 19th-century wardrobe and style with a futuristic steampunk feel. The two-part show follows “the Seeker,” a scientist who discovers a path to an imaginative world through his cabinet of curiosity. Inside the cabinet, the Seeker meets a cast of quirky characters who trail the line separating fantasy from reality. As the characters come to life throughout the show, the Seeker learns to spark his imagination and in turn, becomes more in-tune with the chaos and creativity that unfolds.

“What if by engaging our imagination and opening our minds, we could unlock the door to a world of wonders?” asks the show’s synopsis on Cirque du Soleil’s website.

While the show’s concept is fantastical and wacky, cabinets of curiosities are very real, and served as the predecessors to museums in 19th-century Europe. This historical nod adds another layer of intrigue that made the viewing experience enjoyable.

As for acts, “Kurios” presents a myriad of classic circus performances that awed opening night spectators. A contortion act of four cast members and a balancing act that reached unbelievable heights garnered the most applause of the night. Other astonishing acts included an acrobatic bicyclist, an aerial tumbling performance and a duet where dancers soared through the air using straps dangling from the ceiling. 

While Cirque du Soleil is perhaps best known for the impressive stunts of its cast members, the company also incorporates elements of illusion into its performances. In the show’s “Invisible Circus” act, invisible miniature entertainers complete a series of circus tricks with the support of the audience and a visible ringmaster onstage. Another act that left spectators in awe was the “Upside Down World” scene, where two sets of cast members enact a mirrored dining table scene – one set of cast members was seated onstage while the other set of actors hung upside-down from the ceiling, each group mimicking the other’s movements. The two groups connected in mid-air by stacking chairs and stools in both directions, followed by stuntmen racing to the middle by scaling and balancing upon the props.

Cast members also interacted with the audience throughout the course of the production, meandering into the auditorium to keep viewers engaged during prop transitions and scene changes. One audience member was brought onstage by a character to participate in a scene toward the end of the show. Doing so kept the illusion of the show intact, preventing audience members from losing sight of the magic to check watches or cell phones for the time.

Overall, “Kurios” brings creativity to a new level through its innovative forms of storytelling. The show’s characters are charming and lovable due to the sheer talent and charisma of Cirque du Soleil’s artists. The performers’ ability to utilize the entire stage demonstrated professionalism and the creative use of actors as props fit the quirky atmosphere of the production. Although the show lasted just over two hours, the endearing story and captivating visuals easily make you lose track of time.

The show is scheduled to close on December 24.