Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest
Manchester was in for a stunning visual odyssey as Cirque du Soleil brought Toruk – The First Flight to the arena for four nights only before heading to London to complete its UK leg of the tour. Inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, we are led on a journey of discovery on the distant moon of Pandora where artifacts are unearthed to bring together five ancient clans.
The arena was packed with thousands of fans eager for another production from the iconic world of Cirque and they would not be disappointed. Toruk is a visual feast from start to finish, with projections that make you feel like the earth is really shaking and the river is really flowing, as they literally bring the stage to life. That said it is a very different show to the usual Cirque production, there are no clowns adding humour, there are no edge of your seat, breathtaking acrobatics. They instead rely on the visual projections and the narration to tell the story and impress the audience. There certainly is daring acrobatics but they are few and far between in this production.
Was this my favourite Cirque du Soleil production? No it wasn’t. Did I enjoy it any less? I still found it enthralling, it was just a very different experience. If you are a huge fan of the Avatar film, I suspect you will love this production but I could never understand what all the fuss was about and didn’t particularly enjoy the film. The storyline is pretty straight forward and centres around three main characters who travel looking for 5 ancient artifacts that will help prevent a catastrophe that will happen to the Tree of Souls, with the aid of Toruk the flying creature.
It really is a beautiful production to watch, the costumes are of course beautiful and the creatures controlled by the artists are just stunning. The sheer amount of artistic work that goes into just one of these productions is phenomenal. Every show is different and how they keep coming up with new ideas will never cease to amaze me.