Summer must-see: Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM


TOTEM runs in Ottawa from July 11 to August 4, 2013.

Have you booked your ticket to see Cirque du Soleil’s  Ottawa production of TOTEM yet?

We were lucky enough to go on opening night, and though LTO contributors have reviewed local productions of Cirque before – this was my first time ever seeing a show.

The verdict? I can say without hesitation that this is a must-see to add to your Ottawa summer bucket list. 

The official summary of the show’s storyline is this: 

The show is being held under the big top, next to the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata.

The show is being held under the big top, next to the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata.

“TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, TOTEM illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend TOTEM explores the ties that bind man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.”

In all honestly, I find this description almost a little too poetic – because once you’re in your seat, the specific details of the story aren’t want grab you (and there are moments that perhaps, on the surface, seem like they don’t quite fit).

The real magic of this show is the incredible acrobatics, the beautiful artistry of the costumes and set, the fantastic music and the absolute wonder (or complete discomfort!) that is evoked deep within your gut as you see those on stage perform feats you’d only think possible in a film with special effects.

My favourite parts?


This roller skate duo, attached here only at the neck, inspired both cheers and gasps from the audience (they really looked like they cut it pretty close a couple of times!)


Every circus needs ia clown, and Mikhail Usov (a.k.a. “The Sad Fisherman”) was hilarious. His deadpan performance (and crazy musical feats) reminded me of Dick Van Dyke’s “Bert” in Mary Poppins. 


While other reviews haven’t been as fond of the sexual chemistry in the show (perhaps from a family audience perspective), this couple’s trapeze scene was my absolute favourite part.


I don’t know if you’d call this juggling or…what…but I was on the edge of my seat through the whole segment.

For more info or to buy tickets, head on over to Cirque’s official site.
To let us know what you thought of the show, comment below!