Toruk: The First Flight is a Cirque Du Soleil production inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar. Avatar is an epic science fiction film from 2009. As this production is considered a prequel to the film, I wanted to see what Toruk: The First Flight was all about.
Turns out, there’s not much to Toruk. Whilst it is colourful and visually stunning by making perfect use of light projection, that’s about all this production has going for it. There are no death-defying stunts nor is there anything in the show that holds you to the edge of your seat. I found the production had many long pauses which were time-wasting to say the least. The change between sets did not flow and the story was incomprehensive and dull.
I understand the concept and need for authenticity when it came to the Na’vi characters speaking in their own tongue. But the execution was poor. Having the Na’vi speak in a language people don’t understand for the entirety of the production disconnects the audience from the characters and story completely. There is nothing worse than a story where you cannot relate to the main characters. Even in James Cameron’s Avatar film, the Na’vi end up speaking English so that the audience can understand and follow the story. I don’t understand how this was overlooked when putting this production together.
There are more holes in the plot than there are in swiss cheese. The characters are meant to collect 5 different talismans that will help to do who knows what. All I know is they somehow magically manage to collect them all and kill a flying creature in the process. It is a lot more boring than I’m describing.
Before the production, audience members are encouraged to download an app to ‘be a part of the show’. As an avid theatre and concert goer, there is nothing worse than sitting watching a show and being blinded by the phone light in front of you. It is part of theatre etiquette to not do, rude and my mind cannot comprehend how this was considered a good idea. Despite being a seemingly clever concept, all it did was have people flash their phones around the arena constantly and annoyingly in various colours.
You can’t even say that only true fans of Avatar would appreciate this production because I brought a friend with me who is a massive Avatar fan and she was just as disappointed as I was. It came to the point where we were laughing at scenes that were supposed to be serious. I would not recommend seeing this production. There’s a lot of spectacle, but nothing really happens.
Watching Toruk was like watching a foreign film with no subtitles. I was lost and I’m pretty sure so were the rest of the audience. Some didn’t even wait for the show to end and left during interval. If you’re considering seeing this production, light projection is free at White Night and is probably a more fun and immersive experience than this show.
Toruk: The First Flight will be in Melbourne, Australia at Rod Laver Arena from November 2nd to the 12th.