The Prickle (@ThePrickle) June 27, 2019
Toruk — The First Flight (2015) is an invitation to another world. It is a spectacular mélange of art forms; a visual feast, with unrivalled projections transforming the stage from lava-pit to waterfall, exquisite costumes, and instruments suspended in mid-air.
However, it is the performers who truly transport us. We are assaulted by an organised chaos of effortless acrobatics, casual capoeira, and mesmerising ritual — so playful at times, that the skill of it is lost in the scale of the production. There is a voyeuristic feel: is it a zoo, or a documentary?
The decision to script the show using the Na’vi language both enhances the reality and frustrates the outsider. We long to connect on a personal level, and the more intimate moments are the most effective: the solo aerial work of Daniel Crispin (in rotation with Guillaume Paquin) set against the haunting vocals of Priscilia Le Foll; Baasansuren Enkhbaatar’s mind-blowing contortion; and the boomerang mastery of Danny Luftman.
At times the essence of Cirque du Soleil seems lost, we definitely lack a clown or two, but with a storyteller-cum-ringmaster, animals and an animal-tamer, the circus is still in town — it is just all too easy to be distracted by the dazzling effects and epic music.
The only thing missing is an invitation to join in. While a rather futile app attempts this, the true dream would be to get on stage with the Na’vi, because what could be more fun than spending an evening delighting in the joys of Pandora?
Ride the Toruk in London until 30 June 2019.