Cirque du Soleil‘s latest production, Toruk – The First Flight, is another unforgettable, magical experience that has to be seen to be believed. I was invited to opening night and highly recommend you get tickets for the show’s limited 2 week run in Melbourne.
Inspired by James Cameron’s AVATAR, Toruk – The First Flight is set on the world of Pandora 3,000 years before the events of the film. The production combines puppetry, state-of-the-art visuals and lighting, incredible stagecraft and Cirque du Soleil‘s trademark acrobatic brilliance to tell the story of Ralu and Entu, two Na’vi teens who must unite their people’s tribes and save Pandora from destruction.
It’s hard to know who deserves the most acclaim – the performers, the puppeteers, the costume and set designers, or the lighting and multimedia engineers. That’s doubtless a significant part of Cirque du Soleil‘s success since its beginnings in Quebec in 1984 – each element of each show is flawless and contributes equally to the end result.
People who are more familiar with Cirque du Soleil‘s more traditional shows such as Alegria may come to this show expecting a more obvious focus on the acrobats and performers. But, just as the production honours the Na’vi’s co-existence with nature, Toruk – The First Flight also honours the relationship between performers and the sets they inhabit, the costumes they wear and the light that brings their skill to life.
At times it’s impossible to believe that Pandora is an imaginary world, particularly when stars and swirling constellations flood the arena or pulsing waves of virtual water lap at the audience’s feet. It’s a truly immersive experience, from the enormous trunk of the HomeTree to the lifelike movement of Toruk and other creations. The show also has an app to apparently enhance the interactive experience, though many people missed the announcement about this at the beginning of the performance.
Cirque du Soleil‘s productions are always special, but Toruk – The First Flight is stunningly executed, honouring its film inspiration but adding to the mythology at the same time. If you get the chance to go, don’t miss out.
- Download the Toruk app before the performance to make the experience even more immersive;
- To ensure your experience at Rod Laver Arena is an enjoyable one, plan for extra travel and entrance time to the event;
- As a standard condition of entry into Rod Laver Arena, patrons will be subject to searches, wanding and ticket check;
- Public transport is the quickest and easiest way to get to and from an event at Melbourne & Olympic Parks, with train, tram and bus options;
- Due to current works, one city-bound lane and one footpath (Rod Laver Arena side) of the Swan Street Bridge has been closed. This will cause significant delays for those travelling by car; drivers should allow up to 20 minutes extra travel time.
- Limited parking is available in the Eastern Plaza car park via Olympic Boulevard
- show goes for approx 2 hours with one interval.