I don't get to the theatre very often. A crazy busy schedule coupled with an admittedly short attention span (I know, sad) puts theatre low on my list of priorities. But given the opportunity, I never regret being treated to an evening of escapism.
And that's exactly what Totem, the latest Cirque du Soleil show to hit Boston, offers. Prepare to forget the stresses of the day the minute the show opens, with its unbelievable costumes, almost inhuman performers and intimate "big-top" setting.
Having seen several Cirque shows in my life, I know what to expect each time, but the story lines are always different and its the accompanying theme that predicates the music, the vibe, the direction the performance takes.
If you've never seen a Cirque performance, you don't know what you're missing. Seriously - you can't imagine that human beings are capable of such unbelievable acrobatics. The skill required to perform the acts that are presented so perfectly, is almost hard to put into words. Cirque performers were made to be Cirque performers. They're like a breed unto themselves (in a good way).
The music in Totem gets your adrenaline going from the first act. The costumes look as real as if they actually were born onto the skin of the performers. If you've seen the show, you might understand why my favorite character was the Crystal Man who seems to come out of nowhere and literally light up the set during the course of the show. Of course, mostly I was jealous of his crystally, sparkly outfit.
Totem is like the circus on acid. I can't think of a better way to describe how Cirque differs from a traditional circus. With neither a traditional circus ring nor animals, Cirque shows rely completely on the performers and music to draw in the audience. And it works. While I saw a few children at the premiere, Cirque shows are intended for adults and are far too sophisticated for a child. Though who wouldn't be wowed by the surreal synchronicity of six unicyclists who juggle metal bowls - sometimes without using their hands - while keeping balanced. Some of it is impossible to describe - you'd have to see it to believe it.
I received two tickets toTotem to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.