Cirque du Soleil's Totem
From 6 January 2011, Closes 13 February 2011
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London
Cirque du Soleil in London with their show Totem at the Royal Albert Hall.
Cirque du Soleil's Totem traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend the show explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.
A fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind
Totem, the new Cirque du Soleil touring show, had it's World Premiere in the Old Port of Montreal on 22 April 2010 where it enjoyed an extended eleven week season before moving to Quebec City for a five week season. After this the show will have its European premiere in Amsterdam on 7 October 2010. The whole tour will then move on to London for Cirque du Soleil's annual rendez-vous with the prestigious Royal Albert Hall from 6 January 2011.
Totem is written and directed by Robert Lepage artistic guidance Guy LalibertÚ and Gilles Ste-Croix. Totem is Robert Lepage's second Cirque du Soleil show following K└ in 2004. "Inspired by the foundation narratives of the first peoples, Totem explores the birth and evolution of the world, the relentless curiosity of human beings and their constant desire to excel," he says. "The word totem suggests that human beings carry in their bodies the full potential of all living species, even the Thunderbird's desire to fly to the top of the totem."
Previous Shows From Cirque du Soleil in London
Cirque du Soleil's Totem in London will play for a limited season at The Royal Albert Hall - the unofficial home of Cirque du Soleil in London. Cirque du Soleil originally played in London during the Summer of 1990 when they presented their show Le Cirque Reinvente in a big top tent in Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank, next to The National Theatre. But it was not for another six years before they returned to London, this time to perform the show Saltimbanco at The Royal Albert Hall in January 1996. They returned the following year with the same show but then brought the show Alegria to the Albert Hall in January 1998, returning again with it the following year. In December 2000 Cirque du Soleil pitched their huge tent, The Grand Chapiteau, next to Battersea Power Station and staged Quidam, again, following the pattern previous pattern, returning with the same show the following year. In January 2003 they returned to The Royal Albert Hall, this time again presenting Saltimbanco. London then got a chance to see Dralion at the Albert Hall in January 2004 and 2005. Following this Cirque du Soleil brought back Alegria back another season. In January 2008, they brought their show Varekai to London and in January 2009 Cirque du Soleil presented their new show Quidam at the Royal Albert Hall.
Cirque du Soleil in London present Varekai at the Royal Albert Hall from 6 January to 14 February 2010:
In a dream forest, acrobatics and beauty meet... Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world-a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai. From the sky falls a solitary young man and the story of Varekai begins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world populated by fantastical creatures, this young man sets off on an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered. The word Varekai means 'wherever' in the Romany language of the gypsies and this show promises to take any viewer wherever they dream as Varekai engages the spirit and art of the circus tradition with jaw-dropping acrobatic choreography set to beautifully crafted music.
Varekai is presented by Cirque du Soleil in London and has been conceived by Cirque du Soleil's new generation artistic team including Dominic Champagne). Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman, Teresa Merilńinen, said: "We experienced sell-out shows last time we brought Varekai to London. Our fans have always expected the very best from us, so to celebrate our 25th birthday in true Cirque du Soleil style, we're planning the return of Varekai and even more standing ovations."
Below are some of the reactions to their previous show in London, Alegria:
"The Albert Hall has played host to everything from the Bolshoi to boxing in the past. Sometimes the venue shines. Sometimes it sucks. But in this soulful extravaganza magicked up by Cirque du Soleil it appears to have met its perfect match. Both stage and audience are bathed in the same dappled, autumnal light. The vast set, a cathedral of wires and gantries and rope ladders, soars into the shadows of the dome. And the yawning space is filled with a shimmering, three-dimensional orgy of delight... Circus can be a tacky business. Here, the performers are granted the dignity they deserve. Even the most granite heart would be hard pushed not to melt." The Sunday Times
"Alegria is a typical product of the global franchise Cirque du Soleil has become: slick, blandly international, and expensive. It no longer seems to matter that Alegria compares poorly with Cirque du Soleil's previous London show, Saltimbanco. It's the brand name that counts. Cirque du Soleil has genuinely reinvented the genre as a glossy blend of pop ballads, non-stop choreography and unified design... It doesn't do to watch too critically. Nothing adds up, and the idea that a narrative runs through the piece is spurious. But where the between-acts business brilliantly succeeds is in eradicating awkward gaps between turns, smoothing the business of people shifting to such an extent that if you had a box of chocs to dip into, you'd forget to eat them... The best of the headline acts would be thrilling in any context... For spectacle on a grand, nay grandiose, scale, there's nothing to compare." The Independent on Sunday
"For the next few weeks the Royal Albert Hall will be home to the Cirque de Soleil (French-Canadian in origin, strongly international in character) and their latest presentation, Alegria. I hadn't seen the Cirque before, though I had heard a great deal about them; and though they may not quite live up to the more transcendental claims that have been made for them by their admirers, there can be no doubt that they put on a magnificent show... The main programme, like the programme of any conventional circus, consists of a series of acts; and the acts themselves, in spite of all the unusual trimmings, turn out to be surprisingly traditional. They are also of an astonishingly high quality." The Sunday Telegraph
"The circus is back in town. But not any old circus. Cirque du Soleil is undoubtedly the cleanest circus in the world. It is also the most successful. Alegria is its biggest show yet. This is circus as it might be if it were produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh with a little help from the Royal Military Tattoo... What you get for your money is some of the world's greatest circus acts wrapped up in a cloak of meaningless spectacle. It is easy on eye, hard on the ear - unless you are a devotee of the type ballad that fails to win France the Eurovision Song Contest year after year - and completely numbing on the brain... Part of this blandness stems from the fact that this is an international show for an international market." The Guardian
"Cirque du Soleil turns the circus into an art form to create a theatre of wonderment in which awe is the main attraction. Alegria (Spanish for joy), which opened in London last night, is a sequel to last year's Saltimbanco, but far slicker in its turnover of astounding acts. The show is joyful, as the name suggests, because it scales a Utopia of physical perfection and ferocious virtuosity while teasing the body into extraordinary feats... Alegria is the best way to blow away the winter blues - but don't try the tricks at home." The London Evening Standard
"Maybe Alegria has not quite the lavish variety and visual strangeness of Saltimbanco, the show the Cirque du Soleil folk first brought to London in 1996... An evening that can be recommended almost as unreservedly as Saltimbanco. Once again Cirque du Soleil has created an imaginative world that acknowledges tradition, reaches into the future, and is ceaselessly busy in the present. Once again it will keep your organs of wonder exercised: eyes, ears and, yes, the dreamy bits in between." The Times
"This is an ultra-modem animal-free vegetarian concept circus which with an almost creepy degree of success - has blown every other circus out of the water... But what in the end is so impressive is the level of skill on offer. The tumbling and multiple trapeze act are not only world class but no one made a single mistake. Not one. You almost longed for an accident. One may regret the demise of Coco the Clown and Wally the Walrus but if you want to see where circus is at these days, then you've got to roll up." The Daily Express
"Alegria is a Spanish word expressing elation, joy and jubilation. This show, which contains only a scatter of spoken words, has been publicised with a waterfall of verbiage. Never has so much guff surounded so much brilliance. Never have so many wolly, tear-jerking statements accompanied such a series of breath-taking physical feats. Here they go on the subject of street children: 'Tonight, our cries of joy will become screams of rage because millions of young hearts will again freeze in the gutters of our goodwill.' And never, probably, has so much money been made from a circus... The smell arising from the ring is not as purely aromatherapeutic as its promoters would like us to think. Nevertheless, it is an evening of thrilling moments." The Observer
Cirque du Soleil Saltimbanco embarked on a major UK tour during 2010
Saltimbanco is a Cirque du Soleil signature show inspired by the urban fabric of the metropolis and its colorful inhabitants. Decidedly baroque in its visual vocabulary, the show's eclectic cast of characters draws spectators into a fanciful, dreamlike world, an imaginary city where diversity is a cause for hope.
Sheffield Arena - Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 May 2010
Saltimbanco - from the Italian 'saltare in banco', which literally means 'to jump on a bench' - explores the urban experience in all its myriad forms: the people who live there, their idiosyncrasies and likenesses, families and groups, the hustle and bustle of the street and the towering heights of skyscrapers. Between whirlwind and lull, prowess and poetry, Saltimbanco takes spectators on an allegorical and acrobatic journey into the heart of the city.