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The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

ore than six mil­lion Aussies have seen a Cirque du Soleil show over the past 17 years, and that num­ber is set to be boosted even fur­ther by KOOZA.

The elec­tri­fy­ing KOOZA com­bines two cir­cus tra­di­tions — acro­batic per­for­mance and the art of clown­ing — to stun­ning ef­fect.

There have been 10 Cirque du Soleil shows in Aus­tralia since 1999. A whop­ping 700,000 peo­ple saw Totem when it toured in 2014-15.

KOOZA could push that over­all fig­ure to seven mil­lion.

It fea­tures a se­lec­tion of hand-picked acts that are guar­an­teed to thrill, in­clud­ing the Wheel Of Death, the High Wire, Bal­anc­ing On Chairs and the Teeter­board. There are no safety nets.

“I’ve taken this show to Ja­pan and Europe and the US and it is ex­hil­a­rat­ing be­cause of the level of adren­a­line,” says com­pany man­ager Genevieve Des­lan­des.

“It is such a wild ride. I think Aus­tralian men might be sur­prised by this show.

“I can see them be­ing re­ally blown away by it.”

There is plenty of fam­ily fun too. The open­ing Chari­vari with the bois­ter­ous house troupe, the serene beauty of the Brush Farm House, East­wood; to­day, Septem­ber 10 and Oc­to­ber 22, 3pm and 6pm, Hugh­en­den Ho­tel, Wool­lahra; Septem­berer 1 and Septem­ber 2, 6.30pm, Eskbank House andnd Mu­seum, Lith­gow; Septem­ber 17, 3pm and 6pm $ 20-30, blax­lan­dand­daugh­ter.com Award-win­ning writer Wendy Blax­land brings life to a true story which hap­pened on the site where Kil­lara sta­tion stands to­day. Con­tor­tion, and the ex­cep­tional bal­ance of the Hoops Ma­nip­u­la­tion are spell­bind­ing.

Clowns such as The King, The Handy­man and the Mad Dog are also in­te­gral to the suc­cess of KOOZA. Any­one in the au­di­ence could sud­denly find them­selves part of the action.

“Clowns can be a con­nec­tion to the au­di­ence be­cause we’re closer to them than many of the other acts,” Michael Jay Gar­ner, who plays The Handy­man, says.

“We tend to deal in univer­sal emo­tions that are com­mon to ev­ery­one — laugh­ter, love, fear, anger and kind­ness.

“The shenani­gans they (au­di­ence mem­bers) get into with us are what we call ‘gifts’.”

But it is the jour­ney of The In­no­cent, guided by The Trick­ster, which pro­vides the emo­tional heart to KOOZA.

The Trick­ster is charm­ing and so­phis­ti­cated, a ge­nius who cre­ated the sur­real world of KOOZA. The In­no­cent is a child­like loner who be­comes en­veloped in The Trick­ster’s pow­ers.

“Ev­ery time I walk out of the KOOZA big top, I feel so in­spired,” Des­lan­des says. KOOZA, En­ter­tain­ment Quar­ter, Moore Park; Au­gust 25-Novem­ber 6, $60-$295, cirque­du­soleil.com/kooza Set in early co colo­nial Sydney, c con­vict Wil­liam Geary (played by Andy Simp­son) tries t to es­cape from b bushrangers alo along­side Matilda Fish (Brigid O’Sul O’Sul­li­van), who is de­ter­min de­ter­mined to tes­tify against him. With an ac­claimed cast — watch out for gang mem­ber John White­man, the fly­ing bar­ber, a master with soap and a cut­throat razor — the play is full of dar­ing es­capes and ad­ven­tures along Sydney’s North Shore.

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