Evolution never looked so promising – Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM


by Chua Wei Ling

Oct 28 saw the spectacular opening of Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM here in Singapore, the first show put up by the world famous circus group after a 10 year hiatus from Singapore at the Bayfront Avenue just next to Marina Bay Sands. With stars from local media channels as guests to the opening night, audiences were treated to a wonderful performance that was as breath-taking as it was marvellous.

Step into the Big Top, which was specially erected for the performances, a refreshment corner stands by the side, with popcorn, snacks and drinks available for purchase. Merchandises such as T-shirts and water bottles were also available for sale, along with the programme guidebook as well. Specially for the opening night, guests were treated to champagne and wine, as well as free flow of popcorns and ice creams as well. 

Prior to the start of the show, as the crowd grew restless in anticipations while others were still streaming in and finding their seats, performers could be seen engaging the crowd with their short stints of puppetry and sleight of hands, bringing interaction with the crowd closer than one could have ever gotten to. As a light chiming signalled to all that the show was about to start, the performers too disappeared backstage, as the emcee’s voice resounded throughout the Big Top, beginning what was to be one of the best 2hours performance there was to be.

As a performer descends down from above, decked out in a costume akin to a disco ball, chants from the performers down on the ground started the pace and rhythm for the show, as performers got on the high bars on the cage-like structure on the stage and began swings in unison of up to 4 people. With smooth and well-timed precision, each move was executed such that you could hardly find a gap nor flaw in their actions.

image credits to BASE Entertainment and Cirque du Soleil

Soon after, the cage was slowly raised up to the top, and we see the various acts and skits happening on stage, such as a comedic seaside skit involving two guys vying for the affection of a girl, performed on hoops and in midair, as well balancing acts on unicycles with items balanced on the performers’ heads. Performers popped in and out from beneath the stage (which were quick to be covered up), from behind the stage and from the exits of the Big Top etc, which left the audiences’ heads spinning all around as they can never anticipate where the next performer would come out from.

image credits to BASE Entertainment and Cirque du Soleil

The performance highlights the evolution of mankind in a unique and at times thought-provoking way, with quirks like apes and neanderthals interacting with modern day man, and futuristic alien forms coming to earth, and even the possibility that the key to restoring youth may one day be found. Combining not only physical actions from the performers, which ranges from air-borne stunts to contortions, but also 3D projections,lLive music and singing, as well as interaction with the audience, the show is a definite treat for all! And at the end of the night, as the show ends with all the performers coming on stage, the audience are left on their feet and standing in ovation to the entire performance.

We won’t spoil too much for you in this review of ours, but should you be interested to catch the show live for yourself, tickets are currently still available on Sistic from $98.