Colonel Quaritch’s take on Cirque du Soleil’s “Toruk”

We took a trip to Pandora without worrying about being eaten by a Viperwolf or stomped by a Hammerhead Titanothere.

Being one of the few Richmonders to experience Pandora firsthand, it makes sense that RVANews would ask me to do the recon on Cirque du Soleil’s production, Toruk. Some of you may be surprised to know I survived my little adventure, but modern medicine is truly a miracle and it’ll take more than a green rookie turning native to kill this Colonel.

Cirque du Soleil, which is Canadian for bouncy, flying, flippy folk, had the unenviable mission of telling the story of the first Toruk Makto or Toruk rider. The Toruk is basically a giant flying hell lizard, scientific name “great leonopteryx.” Only five Na’vi (aka “blue monkey cats”) before one Jake Sully have ever ridden these giants.

Having spent several years on Pandora, I can honestly tell you that the Flippy Folk did a damn fine job weaving a tale of three blue monkey cats on quest to the other Na’vi tribes and their unique lands. Through an impressive use of stunning lights, music, and massive sets, that foreign moon was brought home. Locations were as varied as our own planet only with everything, especially the colors, cranked to 11. Floods, volcanos, beaches, swamps and even the floating mountains were represented. Native animals weren’t forgotten either as packs of Viperwolves shared the stage with the Direhorse, while Banshees and Woodsprites circled overhead.


Fortunately, Pandora’s deadly atmosphere did not come along for the ride. Carbon dioxide would have rendered the audience unconscious in about 20 seconds and dead a few minutes later, and that would simply turn disastrous for intermission concession sales.

The blue monkey cats showed their usual annoying world class skills—bounding, leaping, flipping and balancing—in an array of situations that would have made any gymnast green with envy. Compared to other Cirque shows, the element of risk seemed played down in favor of storytelling, and as a former Marine, I’m all about the danger, so I really missed those, “Ahhhh hell, that fool is gonna plummet to severe injury!” moments.

At the end of the night, as I walked out of the Coliseum, I thought it was nice to revisit my old stomping grounds. I just wish I could have done a bit of stomping myself and settled an old score or two.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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