TOTEM, the newest awe-inspiring production in the Cirque series, said goodbye to Sydney early January, and opened to a star-studded crowd in Melbourne on 21 January.
In Melbourne's sell-out premiere, performed under the Grand Chapiteau in Flemington Racecourse, Quebec's biggest and boldest entertainment export did not disappoint. TOTEM features a cast of 45 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers to present a spectacular acrobatic interpretation of the evolution of mankind, spoiling audience goers with another unforgettable circus experience.
The show begins with reptilian dressed performers writhing around an earthy cage-like construction, when a disco-ball glad aerialist is lowered down onto the stage to project starry night reflections which attract the eyes of the audience.
What continues is a beautifully choreographed excellence with a running order featuring bars, hoops, rings, unicycling, hand balancing, foot juggling, devil sticks, fixed trapeze, roller skates, and Russian bars, not forgetting the traditional clowning around in the unconventional Cirque style.
Standout performers would undoubtedly be the teeny-tiny quintet unicyclists perched high on their wheels whilst throwing metal bowls that land on each others' heads with remarkable precision. Equally, the two Crystal Ladies foot juggling mats on their feet whilst balanced on each other is an unusual, eye-opening act. A rollerskating duo, dressed in native American outfits, faltered very slightly yet recovered with poise to demonstrate the unbelievable strength required for their balancing spins of extraordinary speed, rightfully rewarded with a thunderous applause from the audience. The Russian bars finished the show, as nimble-footed acrobats flew into the air from one bar to the next.
TOTEM touches on many aspects of humanity, representing historical cultural traditions through dance and costume, a very clever and amusing scene showing the evolution of ape to man, as well as tales of intimacy, humour and a scientific discovery shown through an array of remarkable athleticism and clever trickery.
TOTEM presents the whole package, featuring some of the best circus stars in the world at the peak of their acrobatic career, a huge and beautiful stage set featuring world-class lighting and stunning visual effects projected onto the centre stage, as well as electrifying costumes that come to life under UV light and clever make-up that could be mistaken for mask-wearing.