TOTEM: Cirque Du Soleil
When was the last time you were ushered to your seat by an elderly man with a monster under his arm or for that matter a gentleman holding a stem which, until just a few moments ago, was attached to a blooming, yet plastic, flower?
Unless you have paid a visit to London's Royal Albert Hall this year we guess that the answer is never. But those who have managed to catch Totem, one of a series of the spell-binding Cirque Du Soleil shows will know exactly what we are talking about.
For those unfamiliar with Cirque let's give you a brief account on what all the fuss is about. Back in 1980 two Canadian street performers, Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier toured around Quebec with a show called Les Échassiers, although after a few years their performances fell on financial ruin. Luckily their hardship tied in quite nicely with the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier's discovery of Canada and to celebrate this momentous occasion the government chucked some funding behind their production.
A year later, in 1984, and with a second year of funding Guy & Daniel managed to rope in another bloke. Guy Caron was from the National Circus School, with his expertise the trio managed to turn their performance into a proper circus without having to cage up animals and having the pesky animal rights goodie-goodies knocking at their door.
They changed their name to, go on have a guess...Yep, that's right, Cirque Du Soleil which now boasts 19 different shows in 271 cities. There are permanent Cirque shows in Las Vegas which draw in 5% of the cities visitors each night.
Approximately 4,000 people are employed by Cirque from over 40 countries; the shows themselves rake in a Simon-Cowell total of $810m a year!
So, if you manage to make your way down to the Albert Hall before next Thursday (17th February) what can you expect to see during a performance of Totem?
Well, the show is based around the human species and their desire to able to fly. The first thing you will notice is a large green mound on the stage which resembles a turtle, the symbol of ancient civilizations. As the show progresses the acts explores the science which link Man to other species.
If all that guff sounds a bit too deep, don't worry. As soon as the circus stuff starts the meaning behind the production will become irrelevant as a clown sticking his head into a lion’s mouth.
The two-hour spectacular includes hoop dancers, artists on unicycles juggling bowls - by their feet! dancers on roller skates, an incredible scientists who manoeuvres his balls around in an entertaining way and a couple of clowns thrown in for good measure.
The future of Cirque itself is looking very promising and their next show follows the career of Michael Jackson.