TORUK: THE FIRST FLIGHT | London, O2 Arena

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Cirque du Soleil’s 2015 arena spectacular, based on James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), is coming to London. Still the highest-grossing film of all time at $2.8 billion, Avatar is about how, on the planet Pandora, a local tribe of Na’vi become endangered by the expansion of a mining colony. This contemporary circus show is a sort of prequel, set thousands of years before the events of the film.

In Avatar, Jake Sully becomes the sixth person to successfully ride a great leonopteryx, also known as a toruk: any rider is then named Toruk Makto. But who was the first Toruk Makto? Set around 837 BC, the show follows the journey of Entu, the first Na’vi to become a Toruk Makto, in order to save the Tree of Souls from being destroyed by a volcano.

Cirque du Soleil are globally renowned as the greatest circus on earth, and audiences can expect plenty of jaw-dropping acrobatic stunts. However, this differs from most Cirque du Soleil shows in that there is a narrative core. The show also has a large focus on puppetry, animating the wild and diverse creatures of Pandora: viperwolves, direhorses, austrapedes and turtapedes. The leonopteryx/toruk flies using reverse-string puppetry, with the puppeteer beneath the creature.

Toruk also features multimedia audience interaction, where audience members use a mobile app to to influence visual effects and interactive content during the performance. It’s Cirque du Soleil pushing their art to the limits: no wonder this has been such a global hit show for the last four years. Book now!

Take flight with the ancient Na’vi in London for seven performances only, 26 — 30 June 2019.

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY ON ICE | London, SSE Arena Wembley

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The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice has been touring worldwide since 2017 and finally, for the first time, reaches the UK. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse invite fans on a treasure-filled journey bound for heartwarming adventure.

Audiences can expect a huge selection of excerpts from from across all of Disney’s hits, including: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1939); Aladdin (1992); The Lion King (1994); Tangled (2010); and — of course — Frozen (2013). You’ll also get the chance to see characters from The Little Mermaid (1989); Toy Story (1995); and, for the first time in the UK, Finding Dory (2016).

As well as all this, there’s also Disney Princess parade, and the whole clubhouse gang come to join in the fun too. Plus, you can learn the Mouse Bounce dance during the Fit to Dance pre-show!

Disney On Ice shows are always inspiring, featuring a huge cast of some of the best figure skaters in the world. Produced by Feld Entertainment, Nicole Feld says, “Whether this is your first time attending Disney on Ice or you’ve been coming for years, our goal is to create an atmosphere where families can create a dialogue between generations and bring to light their cherished memories.”

The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice brings beloved characters, both classic and new, to life through cutting-edge figure skating, incredible costumes and stunning set designs. Innovative lighting, thrilling special effects and breathtaking skating make it an experience the whole family will remember forever.

The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice plays at The SSE Arena, Wembley, 13 – 17 March 2019.

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DISNEY ON ICE: DREAM BIG | London, The O2

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Feld Entertainment’s all-new production assembles a collection of inspiring stories about Disney’s greatest heroines, featuring highlights from Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and — of course — Frozen.

The title comes from Disney’s recent “Dream Big, Princess” campaign, a video series encouraging girls to follow their passions and “be students; be teachers; be politicians; be preachers; be believers; be leaders; be astronauts; be champions”.

Feld Entertainment Regional Vice President, Steven Armstrong, says, “The stories of Moana and Frozen, in particular, inspire a new generation of young girls through self-reliance and a belief in themselves. Our greatest wish for our guests is that they will be inspired by these tales of bravery and see that anything is possible if you follow your dreams.”

But the title of the new ice spectacular shows that it’s just as much for boys as it is for girls. Executive Vice President and Producer, Nicole Feld, says, “Having both a daughter and son at home, I knew it was important to present a variety of Disney stories as well as show the connection between these stories and illustrate how a journey can unfold in many ways.”

2018 also celebrates 90 years since the creation of Walt Disney’s ‘True Original’, Mickey Mouse. Guests should arrive early to join a special 90th birthday celebration! High-flying jumps, breathtaking skating and lovable Disney friends make Disney On Ice presents Dream Big an experience your family will never forget, so book now.

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big will be skating into Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham and London from the 21st September 2018 to 6th January 2019.

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THE WIDER EARTH | London, Natural History Museum

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In an exciting collaboration, the National History Museum will be hosting The Wider Earth, an award-winning drama about 22-year old Charles Darwin’s voyage across the globe. Fronted by six young actors bubbling with enthusiasm, the show will bring originality, energy and fun to the story of Darwin’s five-year expedition on HMS Beagle.

The production will be fast-paced and colorful, combining an original score (Lior and Tony Buchen) with live drawings (Justin Harrison) projected on a concave backdrop. The centrepiece is a revolving set (David Morton, Aaron Barton) that offers a deconstructed version of rich wood-paneled HMS Beagle, offering unexpected vistas and angles.

The production, set in the beautiful Jerwood Gallery, will be framed with stone arches and a vaulted ceiling. Seating 357 people, this sparse and elegant space will provide a uniquely immersive experience for the audience. They’ll also pass by the Darwin Centre on their way to the show, to get them in the mood.

The play’s most charming attraction may well be its thirty puppets of iguanas, armadillos and other creatures, conceived by the Dead Puppets Society. These wooden cutouts move just like real animals; the actors operate them as feral extensions of their own bodies. Seeing it all come to life was magical, and enough to warrant this reviewer buying a ticket for opening night. Don’t miss it.

The Wider Earth runs from 2 October to 30 December 2018.

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