After attending last evening’s premier of Toruk The First Flight, as told by world-renowned Cirque Du Soleil and inspired by James Cameron’s magical Avatar, I realize I learned two important lessons while being entertained more than I have been in ages: there is life outside our own planet, and the inhabitants of at least one of those worlds are in MUCH better shape than me! The nonstop performance and acrobatic displays made me truly appreciate the passion of the players and their ability to display that passion nonstop for the duration of the show. And flawlessly, I might add. Films are great but shot over long periods of time, and edited for the big screen. “Toruk” plays out “live” before our eyes.
I’ve been reviewing for nearly four decades and the one thing most reviewers face is to tell what we witnessed without revealing too much for those who will be attending. As with all Cirque performances the real entertainment is the majesty and breath-taking acrobatics, and “Toruk” lives up to that promise from the opening scene to the curtain call.
A Storyteller walks us through a story that took place on Pandora long ago, as the people of Pandora were facing a great time of struggle. Toruk is a giant, magnificent winged “monster” feared by most. The story takes us on a journey of two childhood friends, as close as brothers, in their coming-of-age training to become great hunters. The ultimate of their hunting adventures is to face Toruk and save their people. That salvation takes an ironic, yet visually spectacular, turn as the story winds down.
I have heard some suggest that “Avatar” (the inspiration) may be too old for some to remember and that the story and its magnificent set are too “busy” for some to follow the story. I suggest neither is the case. “Avatar” introduced us to a magical new world and the “busyness“ of what should be an award-winning set kept us on the edge of our seats all-performance long! If I have one suggestion, although I have no solution for it, some form of subtitling would benefit at times since most in the audience don’t speak or understand Pandorese.
The journey of the two friends takes us through earthquakes, floods and fires that you truly buy into as actually happening before your eyes. Peppered in amongst those elements are the signature death-defying performances that have made Cirque a household name by a team of global actors and technicians. From the moment we took our seats until our exit, we escaped totally to another blue world and lived the sadness, struggles, battles and joys. And after all, isn’t that what an evening away from reality is supposed to do?
TORUK – The First Flight is performing at the Wright State Nutter Center in Dayton, OH from March 22-26th 2017. For more information and full schedule visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk.
I’m told great seats are still available. Box Office 937-775-4789
This guest post is written by Mike Scinto, a veteran radio/TV talk show host, award-winning columnist and a USAF disabled veteran