The Sun at Midnight

Tonight I treated my parents and my aunt to see Cirque du Soleil’s show, Totem. I’ve got a recently broken finger (from a rather modest bearclaw kick) so it’s a little hard to type, yet I wanted to record a trace of how the night was.

Let me just say, most amazing show of my life. I spent about half the show in delight and the other half saying “No fucking way, that’s not humanly possible”. I couldn’t keep my jaw from hitting the floor as the performers, each impressively strong and fantastically entertaining demonstrated their speciality skills. It’d be hard to pick a favourite, though if pressed I must confess I have a raging crush on the chick with the blue mohawk and the five hoola hoops. Her stage presence, dexterity and sheer attitude won me over straight away and kept me with her until the end of the show, and I felt my heart pounding with every stomp and every flap of her hollow rings.

A close runner up would include the quartet of Chinese unicyclists (formerly a quintet with one performer out with an injury, and now a trio because one of the girls had her last show tonight). The elegance in their hands and facial expressions, the skill in which they flicked the bowls and the synchronicity in which they moved was truly beautiful to behold.

I absolutely loved the rollerskating duo as well. I was secretly hoping for some Jack and Rose level spinning, and what they delivered was so much more than I could have dreamed of. The spinning-by-the-neck trick was just freaking amazing, and their presence as a couple took my breath away. Fantastic acting, and amazing costumes. And those skates, man! The way they’d subtly break by tipping their toes to the ground was just so classy.

The Diablo master was fantastic to watch as well – I loved the way he walked, the way he pointed his toes before stepping. He exuded elegance and mastery.

I appreciated the comedic relief as well – they were pretty well universal in their comedy, and their recurring appearances were familiar and comforting and brought many genuine laughs out of me. In truth, they strung the show together, and it was bettered by their presence. (My view on clowns has certainly been improved since the Great London Circus, where a man handcuffed me to a board against my will and pretended to throw knives at me.)

And the age-changing vacuum-wizard! While his performance wasn’t as physically taxing, it was bloody mesmerising and I could watch him all night. He maintained beautiful and complex flow, and I just realised his orbs remind me of the electrons that circle an atom. The whole show was packed full of powerful imagery that was left to the audience to make sense of.

After the show, my friend Trev (originally of Circus Conditioning and now AirSpace fame) was able to show us around because he’s been asked to fill in as a physiotherapist while Cirque is in Perth. It was so bizarre seeing the performers walking around in jeans and hoodies afterwards, doing more training after the show, eating apples and generally being humans. On the stage they commanded such presence, held such prestige, and afterwards they reverted back to being people. I couldn’t help but grin (literally, I couldn’t close my mouth) when I was walking around back stage seeing such incredible artists in their natural habitat. One of the ladies there (artistic director, I think) asked if I’d seen all the Cirque shows in Perth, and I told her that I would make it my mission to from now on. The level of skill in each act was just mindblowing, and the atmosphere was classy and unpretentious. Trev tells me Totem will be performing in Japan in a few months time. Maybe I can swing by on my honeymoon…

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