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Saturday, 22 June 2019

Toruk by Cirque du Soleil

Review of Cirque du Soleil Toruk

Last night I took the kids to their first Cirque du Soleil show. My Cirque fridge magnets reminded me that it was my fifth time seeing the circus company but this show couldn't have been more different from the first time I saw them about 15 years ago in Barcelona when I saw 'Alegria' in a big top. Algeria was full of beautiful songs set to classic circus pieces, we were sitting right at the front and felt completely immersed in the show. We had bought the tickets on a whim as we past the box office that afternoon and since then I have been a fan. This mean't that when I saw Cirque were bringing their Avatar inspired show, Toruk, to the UK I knew I really wanted to see it and take the kids too. We had loved the new Avatar based area and attractions during our visit to Animal Kingdom at Disney World last year.

Cirque du Soleil, Toruk
A volcanic eruption around the Tree of Souls 

In many ways Toruk could not have been more different than the show I saw 15 years ago. It still used acrobatics but also props, digital projected backgrounds and flooring, puppets and a large team of performers to bring a different world to life- the world of the Na'vi and other tribes in the fictional world of Pandora. By having so much going on at the same time on stage, this is the first time I've thought a Cirque show has actually been perfect for an arena. I would, however, have loved to have seen the detail of the performers make up and costumes and funnily enough watching this week's Blue Peter has provided a great way to do that!

A Viperwolf puppet from Cirque du Soleil, Toruk
A Viperwolf puppet 

Review of Cirque du Soleil, Toruk
Acrobatics on a large skeleton structure. 

Toruk did not seem to have the same emphasis on circus skills as the other Cirque shows I've seen but is clear that Cirque du Soleil have embraced the newest technology available to create a whole world on stage. The projections were the best I have ever seen in any show before- they turned the floor and the tree root scenery into waterfalls and rivers, volcanoes and mountains, they were constantly moving and changing and the colours were beautiful. The audience could take their part too with an app which I downloaded at the beginning of the show, I only looked at my phone a couple of times (when I remembered- the show was far too captivating) but it allowed me to join other members of the audience to add lights to the show at different points- fun but a bit of a novelty which wasn't really necessary- I wanted to be in Pandora rather than reminded that I was really in an Arena full of people.

A review of  Cirque du Soleil, Toruk
A waterfall flows down the scenery and across the stage...

This is also the first Cirque show I have seen to have some sort of story line. I think that suited this particular show. I felt the music was a bit hit and miss and unlike previous shows I have no desire to listen to the soundtrack again. However, it was just a very different experience- rather than being amazed by each individual act, it felt a bit like what I imagine it must be like to sit in a sparkly, colour-changing snow globe for a couple of hours and being very gently shaken up! I say 'very gently' as I think the darkness of the auditorium, the lighting and effects left us all feeling a bit sleepy rather than energised. It was beautiful and so detailed, I would love to see it again. Toruk is playing in Manchester and the O2 Arena in London during this tour.

A review of  Cirque du Soleil, Toruk
The Toruk in flight...

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