Cirque Du Soleil's Toruk Dazzles As Much As It Dismays

Cirque du Soleil: Toruk, O2 Arena ★★★☆☆

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Cirque Du Soleil's Toruk Dazzles As Much As It Dismays Cirque du Soleil: Toruk, O2 Arena 3
Photo: Matt Beard © 2017 Cirque du Soleil

Ever been on a date with a total hottie where the chemistry was minimal? Us neither but that’s not a terrible analogy for Cirque du Soleil: Toruk, which has popped up at the O2 Arena.

The show is based on the 2009 fantasy flick Avatar by James Cameron which, even a decade on, is still the highest grossing film ever and has four (four!) sequels planned for release between 2021 and 2027 with a combined budget of over a billion dollars.

Photo: Matt Beard © 2017 Cirque du Soleil

With that in mind, this is a timely production but that doesn’t make it a great one by the Canadian company’s own standards. Too often, slow pacing, muddled direction and the awkward mixture of Nav’i speech translated into an English voiceover overshadow Cirque du Soleil's usual high standard of atmospheric music, visual effects and costuming.

Photo: Matt Beard © 2017 Cirque du Soleil

For a Cirque show, there’s too little circus with the emphasis here more on storyline and eye candy. Having said that, there is a spectacular balancing act aboard the eponymous skeletal beast; unlike Kooza’s Wheel of Death, there’s never a sense of mortal danger but the skill on display is eminently watchable all the same. There are thankfully no clowns and instead we have 'animals', which are realised by actors in a manner reminiscent of The Lion King musical.

Photo: Matt Beard © 2017 Cirque du Soleil

Maybe nostalgia isn’t what it used to be but Toruk is a half-baked effort which dazzles as much as it dismays.

Cirque du Soleil: Toruk, O2 Arena, Peninsular Square, SE10 0DX. Tickets £47.70-£91.70, until 30 June 2019.

Last Updated 28 June 2019