“Toruk’ Soars Above Sunrise & Miami
By Skip Sheffield
“Toruk” is the most showy, least circus-like Cirque du Soleil production I have seen to date. It continues through Sunday, March 6 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, then it runs March 10-13 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
“Toruk’ is the kind of show that could only be presented in a large arena. The stage takes up the whole ground floor of the arena and it has different levels with hydraulic lifts, turntables, and elaborate rigging for the aerial artists. Overhead is a circular rig hung from the rafters. At one point a quartet of performers shimmy up ropes to the rig and pound upon big bass drums in concert with more drummers on the floor.
In a departure from earlier Cirque du Soleil shows, this one has a “Na’vi Storyteller” who narrates in plain English what is going on. All the other characters spout meaningless gibberish and use inflections to convey emotion.
“Toruk: The First Flight” is loosely based on the Avator world created by filmmaker James Cameron. The two main characters are young men who take it upon themselves to save the “Tree of Souls” and save their civilization. In order to do this the men must bring together the bickering tribes of Avator. They are joined in their effort by a very petite, very limber young gymnast woman.
Programs are not issued for Cirque shows, so we don’t know who is whom. I would like to know who that very limber female is and what her age is. She looks to be about 14, but she could be a very small adult.
The puppetry is downright majestic in “Toruk.” Four puppeteers manipulate feral dog-like creatures that chase people around. The most spectacular effect is the airborne predator known as Toruk. Legend has it if a pure soul can ride Toruk for the first time and the world and the Tree of Souls will be saved.
Helpful hint: BB&T Center nicks you $20 just to park in their parking lot. You don’t have much choice as there are no legal alternatives. Tickets are $43, $69 and $130 with higher-priced ‘producer’s seats” available for high-rollers. Go to www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk for tickets and information.