Cirque du Soleil’s new adventure, TORUK, is visually spectacular storytelling that takes you on a journey to the world of Pandora in a way that only Cirque can do. It’s a bit of a departure from the traditional Cirque shows filled with death-defying circus acts. This is a multi-media extravaganza for the senses that brings the breathtaking world of James Cameron’s “Avatar” to life. The magnificent set fills the entire ground floor of the arena and the audience is invited to participate in the action via the Toruk app-an innovative approach that works with our cultural obsession with our phones rather than against it.
The story centers around two young Na’vi warriors who are on a sacred quest to save their beloved Tree of Souls that is being threatened by a lava flow. The quest takes our young Na’vi through a bioluminescent forest to the Tree of Voices, through a raging river chased by viperwolves to the floating mountains as they encounter several different tribes and rituals, gathering the five needed sacred objects along the way.
All of this is told through the innovation and athleticism of the cast acting as puppeteers, dancers, actors and acrobats to dazzling effect. As with all Cirque shows, there is a gorgeous score and in Toruk, the vocal stylings of Priscillia Le Foll soar to unbelievable heights.
Every scene is more visually stunning than the last with one of the highlights being the contortionists aboard the ritualistic animal of the Anurai tribe, the Thanator. I think this actually qualifies as “death-defying”! And certainly the cast does perform feats of incredible athleticism throughout- flying on silks, climbing up mountains and trees in ways that defy logic. It’s simply that the story and the creation of the mythical world is what is central to this show.
In fact, the entire story takes place thousands of years before the characters in the film “Avatar”, so there are no humans. This journey takes you deep into the world of Pandora and fans of the film especially will be in Na’vi heaven. It is truly an immersive experience that directors Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon have called “a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.”As the Na’vi would say “Fäza’u!”/ Come aboard! Prepare to be transported.
“Toruk-The First Flight” plays at the Staples Center in Los Angeles from November 11-13, and The Forum in Inglewood from January 12-15, 2017. Tickets are now on sale at https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk