Review: Enter Avatar's Pandora with Toruk - The First Flight

Enter Pandora. 

A place of beauty, wonder, and the unexpected. 

Enter the life of the Na'vi. 

A journey of passion, purpose, and suspense. 

Enter Toruk - The First Flight

The Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, inspired by James Cameron's hit 2009 film Avatar, tells the story of Toruk, the great beast that reigns supreme over Pandora's sky. 

It follows the tale of friends Tsyal, Ralu and Entu, Na'vi members of the Omaticaya clan, as they adventure across the planet in search of the great beast. 

And so the story begins. 

Now if you're looking for a classic cirque-style show, then this probably isn't for you. Instead, think about it as a high-end artistic installation but on stage. 

The production is brought to life through large-scale puppetry which is both visually captivating and incredibly technical. One wrong flick or twist and it's bye bye, Toruk.

James Cameron's Avatar Cirque du Soleil: Toruk - The First Flight at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, 2017
Cirque du Soleil: Toruk - The First Flight Photo credit: supplied

The performers are incredibly skilled acrobats and gymnasts. They encapsulate what it is to be Na'vi. Curious and agile in action and almost cat-like in the way they jump around and explore the stage. 

Although the choreography gets a bit repetitive, that's where the cirque-element of the show comes in. From the nail-biting pole climbing and mid-air suspension to the somersaults and Capoeira-like movements, the cast leave you questioning your own life choices, and why you weren't the one that ended up on that stage doing what they are. 

Then of course there's the set - you can't help but think it's alive too. Just as Pandora lives and breathes, so too does the stage.

Made entirely of inflated rubber and steel, it evolves throughout the show. It's absolute visual ecstasy.

The whole show is set to the wonderfully heart-pounding music, with the tribal tone brought to life by the use of percussion. You really do get a sense of being invited into a foreign world and you're lucky to be there.

As a member of the audience, you aren't just watching a show, but you're being educated about a different race, with their own culture, religion, and traditions. 

Their own language too... Oel ngati kameie - I see you. 

The coordination is slick and will leave children walking away with the belief that the magic is real, and anything is possible. 

* Avatar: Toruk - The First Flight is on at Auckland's Spark Arena until the September 24.