Cirque du Soleil scores again with “Kurios,” a new show with a steampunk look that’s at Redmond’s Marymoor Park through March 22, 2015.

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After 30 years of bringing circus to the masses, how does Cirque du Soleil keep topping itself under the big top?

They depart from their customary style just enough to conjure a splendidly captivating new show like “Kurios,” which opened a lengthy run this week at Marymoor Park in Redmond.

Settling into your seat in the gold-and-blue Grand Chapiteau circus tent for this “Cabinet of Curiosities” (and be sure to secure a seat with good sightlines), you gaze in wonder at the strange and marvelous gizmos and contraptions on the stage — coppered Victrola record-players, a clanging vintage clock, antique electric lights, odd robot-like characters with pod faces and bulbous metal midsections.

Circus review

‘Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities’

By Cirque du Soleil. Through March 22, Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; $35-$165 (877-924-7783 or

This is a museum-worthy assemblage, created from recycled bits and pieces of leather, metal, old gramophones and typewriters, turbine engines, piping and tubing.

Directing his first full-scale touring show for Cirque du Soleil, longtime staffer Michel Laprise and his design team evoke a half-machine, half-human neo-Victorian world that’s a striking and delightful departure from the company’s trademark dreamy-fantasia aura.

The look is inspired by the current steampunk craze of retro-futuristic machine-age nostalgia. Stéphane Roy, the designer of the fantastical set and props for “Kurios,” has said he was aiming for a “Jules Verne meets Thomas Edison in an alternate reality” aesthetic.

He and his collaborators (including the wizardly costume designer Philippe Guillotel) not only have achieved that in spades, but also readily accommodated the thrilling aerial, acrobatic, juggling and clowning acts one expects from the world’s leading purveyor of nouvelle circus.

There’s a refreshingly raffish energy in this edition. It comes through in the Parisian jazz-inflected music. And the saucy carnival atmosphere, emanating from such loose-limbed bits as a school of acrobatic fish who flit and flap and flirt between “underwater” stunts.

Though an old inventor with a unicorn-like spike in his hair sets things in motion on stage, a great deal happens in the air in this show. On-the-spot “theater of hands” effects are projected onto a hot-air balloon. A bicycle trick rider is whisked up into the tippy-top of the tent dome. Skill acts churn up suspense, including a sequence where a stocky strongman flings around and barely catches his petite, tumbling partner.

Also liable to take your breath away is a dashing chair balancer at a levitating dinner party. And a goggle-wearing aviator who uses his biplane as a platform for a balancing act that has him perching on a gyrating tower of cylinders and planks. (Don’t try this at home, kids.)

Most of the comedy in “Kurios” derives from the cheeky verve of the ensemble. However, David-Alexandre Després has one of the funniest clowning bits I’ve seen from Cirque du Soleil in years. He wins laughs as both the overeager suitor of a lovely young woman plucked from the audience, and as an uncannily realistic and raunchy pussycat who won’t leave the poor girl alone.

The chance to chortle heartily is another reason to see “Kurios” — as if you needed any more.