26 August 2016 | 4:38 pm | Danielle O'Donohue

"Why the clowns need to rely on clumsy sexual innuendo at all is a mystery in itself."

There is no denying that Cirque du Soleil know how to shock and thrill with daring acrobatic feats — Kooza's Wheel Of Death and Spanish galleon tightrope act really are anxiety-inducing, gasp-worthy marvels. But there are also anxiety-inducing moments of a wholly different nature.

It may be a predictable part of the the Cirque du Soleil blueprint, but personally, I cannot think of one good reason to pull an unwilling woman out of the audience just so the clowns can sidle over and kiss her hand. There are, however, plenty of bad reasons. Why the clowns need to rely on clumsy sexual innuendo at all is a mystery in itself.

Unfortunately, these creepy buffoons are the most disappointing aspect of Kooza. For the most part, this show steers clear of any kind of complex theatre and sticks to the more traditional circus arts, albeit in a variety of stunning ways. The Wheel Of Death really does have to be seen to be believed, and the contortionists in the opening act are a delight, but it feels like Kooza has a marked gender imbalance, with the men doing most of the heavy lifting and flashy aerial work. In fact, all of the principal characters are men. There is also a conspicuous absence of any women in the band, although two female vocalists balance things out slightly.

Cirque du Soleil has an avid audience of young people of both genders. It would be great if the dream world onstage was just as inspirational for the girls as it is for the boys.