Review: Cirque Du Soleil: TOTEM - Royal Albert Hall, London


Tuesday 31st January 2012, 8pm - I've seen Cirque Du Soleil many a time on the television, and last night was my first at seeing them live on stage, and what a magnificent stage it was.
Set in the Royal Albert Hall in the round, every seat has a perfect view, and for this show, it is quite remarkable.

The show is more theatrical than other Cirque shows, director Robert LePage doing a fantastic job on getting the detail right, your eyes focussed on the action and the visuals the set has to offer.
The set is a huge bundle of fun animatronics and projection, at times it is gobsmackingly gorgeous, for instance the time when there are swimmers being projected onto a pool, and they emerge for real with explicit timing, it has to be seen to believed. The drawbridge being used as a speedboat along with the visuals is again a smart bit of trickery, simple yet elegant.

The band are set behind the green bamboo sets, you catch glimpses of them throughout, with a soundtrack that fits the bill, tribal - world fusion which has lots of african inspired drumming in the surround sound mix.

The performers are masters at what they do, I'm going to make a word up here, but the 'acrobatability' is awe-inspiring. The strength, skill, flair and passion these performers have just makes you want to applaud throughout.

Five female performers on tall unicycles with silver dishes balanced on their head is no mean feat, and then when you start throwing them at each other with your feet and catching them on your head, well, it's just jaw-dropping to see.

A magical piece of the show is the trapeze act, the 'Adam & Eve' part of the story of the themed Evolution. No safety net, no harnesses, pure agility at over 4m high, scrambling over and next to each other, sometimes looking like they were going to fall. But it is incredibly choreographed and the moves are executed with extreme precision, the audience gasping throughout, amazing.

Add to this more aerialists, jugglers, rollerskates and other gymnastic performances, for example a man spinning on the end of a pole which is balanced on another mans shoulders, then you have a show which delights everyone in the room.

I thoroughly enjoyed TOTEM, it is engaging, dynamic, visually stunning and I can not reccommend this show enough.

Go see it!

TOTEM is at the Royal Albert Hall until Thursday 16th February