Back to nature

RUNNING on the theme of evolution, Cirque du Soleil’s latest show Totem is going back to nature.

RUNNING on the theme of evolution, Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, Totem, is going back to nature.

Not a bad place to start, as there’s no circus troupe around that makes challenging aerial acrobatics and prop work look as natural and effortless as this lithe bunch do.

So, when more than a dozen gymnasts, dressed in amphibian-print leotards, catapult themselves around an interconnected dome of bars for the entry scene, it becomes clear that Totem wanted to start with a bang – the ‘Big’ sort, perhaps.

From there, we witnessed a unicycle- riding quartet who threw little cups into the air and caught each one on their heads, a male/female double act who performed a series of incredible holds in perfect equilibrium, and a roller skating pair spun so fast around a circular drum that it was impossible to see where he ended and she began.

Hitting fast forward with each scene, the show’s theme took a backseat to the visual skill of the acts.

Some episodes were obvious, others less so. A group of performers dressed in highly realistic and varying ape get-ups to signify man’s evolution was amusing, but the theme wasn’t always coherent and at times seemed to sidetrack from the idea of evolution completely.

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The score, flitting to and from a Native American composition, was beautiful.

Anyone who has yet to see Cirque du Soleil perform will not be disappointed by the physical skill on offer.

You won’t find this sort of risk or precision in circus performance elsewhere.

l Totem runs at The Royal Albert Hall until February 17. Book on 020 7589 8212.