Cirque du Soleil is as daring as ever

RUNNING on the theme of evolution, Cirque du Soleil’s latest show Totem is going back to nature.

It’s not a bad place to start, as there is not a circus troupe around that makes seriously challenging aerial acrobatics and prop work look as natural and effortless as this lithe bunch do.

When a dozen or so gymnasts in amphibian-print leotards started catapulting themselves around an interconnected dome of bars for the entry scene, it became clear that Totem wanted to start with a Bang – the Big sort, perhaps.

From there, we were given a unicycle-riding quartet who threw little cups into the air and caught each one on their heads, a male/female double act who performed a series of incredible holds in perfect equilibrium and a roller skating pair who spun so fast around a circular drum that it was impossible to see where he ended and she began.

A mad scientist character who climbed inside a transparent tube before using its walls as extra bounce for the ten or so florescent balls he juggled was also a highlight.


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Flipping from prehistoric times to the modern day with each scene, the show’s theme took a backseat to the visual skill of the performers.

Some episodes were obvious, others less so.

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A group of performers dressed in highly realistic and varying ape get-ups to signify man’s evolution from hairy four legs to suit-donning two legs was amusing.

But the theme wasn’t always coherent and at times seemed to sidetrack from the idea of evolution completely.

The score, flitting to and from a Native American composition, was beautiful.

Anyone who has yet to see Cirque du Soleil perform will not be disappointed by the physical skill on offer.

You won’t find this sort of risk or precision in circus performance elsewhere.

Totem runs at The Royal Albert Hall until February 17.

Book ticket on 020 7589 8212.

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