I have seen a lot A LOT of Cirque shows, like maybe too many. Maybe, I’ve seen so many that I’ve become jaded? I hope not. However, last night I attended the opening of Cirque Du Soleil’s Toruk in Nashville, and I was totally unmoved. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. It was Cirque quality, but it was missing a certain thrill that most Cirque shows possess. I do not want to prevent you from seeing Toruk, I really don’t. I just want you to go into this experience with slightly different expectations than other Cirque shows…(and maybe choose a different Cirque show altogether).
Toruk was inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar. I think it’s a prequel. Here’s a quick summary (from what I gathered):
Two brothers have to collect some weird relics from four different tribes in Pandora in order to appease this giant angry bird (the Toruk) and keep a volcano from erupting and destroying the tree of life. Makes total sense, right?
Unlike most other Cirque shows, the story is the emphasis of the show. Every Cirque show has a story-line that is typically difficult to follow and understand, but no one cares because the insane performances and ridiculously talented performers are the meat and potatoes of the show. Toruk flips this arrangement. In fact, for the first time in my Cirque experience, there is a narrator translating and helping the audience follow along with each act. Unfortunately, the lack of crazy insane stunts and addition of story-telling made it boring. Then, there’s the app….
Days before the show, I saw an add for an interactive Toruk app. It’s meant to be used during the show to enhance your Cirque experience. It was also very heavily promoted at the arena before the show started. I’m easily convinced, so I downloaded it and followed the instructions to “be a part of the experience”. I tried. I really tried to use the app at least a few times to give it a real chance, but I could not get on board. I think the idea is that virtually everyone will use the app and hold their phones up during selected times to create an extra effect around the arena. For example, during a scene with a starry night, your phone will light up with stars that will blink and shimmer in sync with everyone else’s. In theory this creates an additional special effect. In reality, only a fifth of the audience participated, leaving the blinking phones less than impressive. Additionally, if I’m going to use my phone during a show, I’m going to use it to share snaps, insta-stories and take photos. Sorry, but it’s true. Some shimmering stars and fluttering fireflies aren’t worth the drain on my battery.
Also, can I ask…what is all this hype around Avatar? I know there are move movies scheduled to be released, but with Disney building an entire Avatar themed addition to their Animal Kingdom park and Cirque creating an entire Avatar themed show, you’d think it was a big as Star Wars or Harry Potter. Is it? Am I missing something? Can anyone even name a character from Avatar? Disney clearly knows what they’re doing when it comes to making money, so I should probably assume that I’m just out of the loop when it comes to being an Avatar fanatic, but I am not convinced that this a “thing”.
The real star of the show was the set. It is not an exaggeration to say it is phenomenal. The set is illustrated and projected on to the floor, stage, walls and enormous mountain and is constantly transforming throughout the show. The technology used for the show creates landscapes of ice, forests, volcanoes and twinkling night skies. There are even flowing rivers and waterfalls, it’s truly beautiful to watch unfold throughout the show. In fact, I would almost say it’s worth the cost of a ticket just to see the set. Here’s a small snipped I caught on my phone, it’ll give you the gist.
Now, who isn’t running out to by tickets to Toruk after that glowing review??? I’m sorry Cirque, but I cannot tell a lie (to my readers). Please don’t forbid me from seeing more of you shows.
If you are one of those Avatar nuts that I have yet to meet (or a Cirque nut, like myself), get your Toruk tickets here!