Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cirque Du Soleil TOTEM - REVIEW

A fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind

On an island evoking the shape of a giant turtle, TOTEM™ traces humankind`s incredible journey – from our original amphibian state to our ultimate quest for flight. Along the way, it also explores our dreams and infinite potential, and the ties that bind us both to our collective animal origins and to the species that share the planet with us.

With scenes from the story of evolution randomly linked together in a chain, TOTEM returns to the beginnings of organic life in the primordial ooze. Featuring Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, primates and men in suits, among others, the show depicts a world of archetypal characters who, in their own way, witness and act out the perennial, existential, questions of life.

Alternating between primitive and modern myths, and peppered with aboriginal stories of creation, TOTEM echoes and explores the evolutionary process of species, our ongoing search for balance, and the curiosity that propels us ever further, faster, and higher…


The word “totem” contains the idea of the order of species. We carry in our bodies the potential of all species, all the way to our desire to fly—like the thunderbird at the top of the totem pole.

Being invited along to TOTEM was a huge highlight for me. I have waited so long to be able to see the Cirque Du Soleil and I have no idea why it has taken me this long to attend a performance by them, I now understand all the hype that is around it as soon as someone hears the words 'Cirque Du Soleil'.  Unfortunately I missed opening night as I was overseas and will miss the media/bloggers night for TOTEM due to other commitments but none the less I still got to see what Cirque Du Soleil is all about.

There is not any words that I think can give this performance real justice as to what I saw with my own eyes, it's one of those performances where you would just quote to someone 'You have to see it!'

TOTEM shows a performance of diverse cultural music and cultural incorporated acts with little skits in between. You will hear music that brings you clapping in time with the beat and have you gasping in the audience whilst you are in utter amazement over the acts. 

Cirque Du Soleil takes circus acts to a whole new level as they aren't just sectioned for talents, they play a short story whilst performing their acts. For example you have The Scientist who will take you through history, show his studies and then you will see him in action as a Scientist who invents a step back in time machine all whilst using his talent of juggling.

I really have to applaud the team of TOTEM for the outstanding and phenomenal work that shone through from the stage backdrops/proprs and costumes; I can only imagine that a lot of thought and hardwork went into the process of creating all these pieces.
The stage took its place being an oval area with then a marsh behind that is lined with reeds near an island, on which natural life images are projected onto. The images would change along with each act and really set the scene for you. At times through the performance a bridge would emerge out onto the island (stage), not only was it made a bridge but also a speedboat, rocket ship and an Indian carpet to name a few.
It's the little details that really showed how much time was spent on making the clothing; in the Russian Bars act you will see that when each individual Cosmonaut performer comes out onto the stage they have glow in the dark outfits on; if you look closely each individual has their own unique pattern in their clothing. 

Picking out my favorites was hard as TOTEM as a whole was just brilliant but when it comes to the crunch and what I would say was my highlights, it would have to be the Fixed Trapeze Duo and the Unicycles and Bowls.

Fixed Trapeze Duo

Like two lovebirds, a young man and woman tease, play and sulk in an innocent game of seduction and eventually intertwine their bodies in a light-hearted vertical dance of fresh, unusual movements and lifts.

As I said before their is a short story behind each talent act and this was one of my favorites. A man and a woman in which share with you a little love story which the woman plays hard to get. 
The movements as they are high up in the air with no rope attachments, harnesses or anything and are dangling meters upon meters from the ground whilst they use one another to perform astonishing positions. 
At one point the man is hanging upside down using only his legs to hold him on the bar up in the air whilst the woman is climbing all over him and he is holding her by just her waist or even by a single foot. 

Unicycles and Bowls

The abundance of fall is represented by the harvest colours and details of the costumes as five unicyclists juggle metal bowls in an astounding display of agility, balance, synchronized control and physical grace, tossing the bowls with their feet—sometimes over their shoulders—and catching them on their heads without using their hands.

First I see one unicyclist come riding over the bridge, then two, three, four and five - now this had me wondering how on earth they were going to make this a fair act without having one or two main unicyclists like you would normally see in other performances but Cirque Du Soleil put together a magnificent act of having a total of five unicyclists ride in sync to one another, going backwards, forwards and side to side, carrying bowls on the tops of their heads and then to toss them onto other unicyclists heads if not their own. 
These unicycles are bigger then I have ever seen before and was just amazed at how the unicyclists could keep there balance for this whole act, that seemed to have gone for at least 10 minutes I would say.

I won't let to much more out of the bag and tell you all about the other acts as you should be really going to see it for your own eyes rather than hear about it from me. It's a theatrical performance you do not want to miss. 

Tickets and tour details can be found on their website


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