Performing arts/theatre review: Cirque du Soleil: Totem
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Rating: ** (out of 5)
As always, Cirque du Soleil is a flurry of pleasant noise and colour when it comes to London (and the UK). However, this time, Totem, which depicts man’s evolution from an aquatic and amphibian being in to a species that wants to fly is pretty but does not take one’s breath away as Quidam did at the Battersea Power Station, when Cirque du Soleil first introduced itself to Britain in 2001.
Make no mistake, the costumes are pretty and the music is upbeat but most of the acrobatics, and the comic interludes, are not as sharp or enticing as past shows. And, for the expense of the tickets, one would be better off getting cheap seats at the opera, doing something outside for free like walking a dog or flying a kite or staying at home and playing a game while listening to good music.
However, although not as electrifying as some of Cirque’s other shows, there are still a few “as always” that hold true.
- costumes are incredibly beautiful such as “crystal man’s” and the “crystal ladies” who “emerge from the fiery bowels of the earth to evoke the creation of the world and the beauty of minerals” (the ladies also spin shimmering crystal plates for their act)
- the orchestra has a beautiful sound
- the performers try their hardest – and what they do, they do extremely well
- the sets, costumes and lighting are extremely imaginative and eye-catching
So what is the problem? The problem is that the tickets are way too expensive, the plotline is too watery and unimaginative, and because of the vague storyline the acrobatics – such as plate-spinning and tight-rope walking – just don’t come across as exciting as they could if there was a focus purely on either acrobatics or on storyline.
So for a minimum of £27 per ticket after you pay all of the booking fees, is it worth a trip to the Royal Albert Hall to sit in the dark and possibly have an obstructed view? Er, no. Be happy with the website (for clips of the show and artwork) and advertising that you might see around London.