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Review: Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk — The First Flight

reviews Oct 31, 2017

Right off the bat, let’s just say that this isn’t your typical Cirque du Soleil show. If you’re expecting trapeze acts, unicycles, high wires or hoops, you’ll be left wondering if this is even Cirque du Soleil. However, there are enough examples of acrobatics and talent typical of Cirque performers that it won’t leave you disappointed. Add to this the stunning light projections, the epic score and extravagant sets and puppetry, and you’ve got yourself an immersive, breathtaking experience.

Unlike, for example, Totem or Kooza, that have a loose narrative binding the acts together, at the heart of Toruk is its storyline. It’s set in Pandora (from James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar), among the Na’vi tribesfolk, thousands of years before humans have set foot on it. The Na’vi storyteller recounts the journey of two young men on a quest to save their world from the prophecy of a natural catastrophe. They must warn the other tribes of the danger and collect totems from them to assist their quest.

Some of the acts include acrobatics on a giant loom, aerial silks, a sequence with kites and the taming of the Toruk — a dragon-like predator feared by the Na’vi. A personal favourite was the sequence atop a giant seesaw that resembled vertebrae.

Photo credit: Jesse Faatz for Cirque du Soleil

The puppetry is amazingly realised; the vicious Viperwolves bound across the stage in fluid motion and the swooping Toruk will have you cowering in your seat.

While the action on stage is spectacular, it’s the lighting and projections that truly take this production to another level. Scenes where waves ripple across the stage, where rocks tumble down a cliff face and cracks of lava break apart the ground, warp your perception of space and place. It’s hard to believe that these are simply projections of light and movement.

Critics of Toruk may argue that there aren’t enough elements of Cirque du Soleil to fulfil expectations. But go in with expectations of an immersive visual feast and a storytelling masterpiece and you won’t be disappointed.

Experience Toruk — The First Flight for yourself with last minute, discounted tickets from Lasttix.

Catherine Mah

Catherine likes to run, eat and read but not simultaneously. If you can't find her doing these things, she's most likely sleeping.