I am extremely annoyed at myself for very nearly forgetting to write about one of the coolest things I’ve done in Toulouse so far. Maybe I need to read my own post about staying motivated and get my act together.
This term I managed to tick something off my bucket list as I discovered that the Cirque du Soleil was coming to Toulouse in late November. I had actually never been to a circus before and despite them being advertised on the majority of lampposts in France, pretty much every one of these shows uses animals and so I have never wanted to go to one. However, I had heard so many amazing things about the Cirque du Soleil, and despite the crazy masks, headpieces and outfits, I can confirm that all the performers are most definitely human, phew.
The show that is currently touring with the famous circus is called OVO. Based on the insect kingdom, it has a sort of comedy-romance storyline carried out by three main characters, interspersed with an array of jaw-dropping circus skills. I used to think (perhaps cynically) that there was no way that a show without speech would be able to make me laugh, but this definitely proved me wrong!
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I sat down in the audience. Obviously I knew I’d be seeing circus skills, but the last time I saw ‘circus skills’ in real life was when my friends and I did a workshop on our year six residential trip. Well, let’s just say that this performance was just a little bit more impressive than our plate-spinning…
The reality is that ‘impressive’ doesn’t even come close to describing the talent in this show. I pretty much saw anything that I could have imagined and more in the two hours I was in the audience. From the opening act showing performers juggling objects using their feet (including actual people) with ease, to the final performance of amazing trampoline acrobatics, I was hooked the moment the lights came up.
The rest of the show included other amazing acts such as contortion, corde lisse (dancing whilst suspended from two ropes), trapeze artists and much more. However, one of the acts that impressed me the most was the tight rope act. You realise that you’re at a pretty amazing circus when they manage to put the traditional version of this already incredible performance to shame. Walking along a tight rope? Oh no, that would be far too easy. Instead, this act involved unicycling along a slack rope. Yes you read that correctly, he didn’t just walk, he unicycled. What’s more, why unicycle normally when you can unicycle upside down in a handstand position? I actually didn’t quite believe my eyes.
There was a spectacular sense of ease in which the acrobats executed their performances throughout the show, giving the impression that all of them really were born doing back flips or bent over backwards with their legs behind their head. With seamless transitions between acts, extraordinary takes on traditional circus skills and an infectious lively energy throughout, I ended up spending the majority of the show with my mouth wide open in awe.
All in all, I’d say that I left the Cirque du Soleil with mixed feelings. On one hand I was absolutely blown away and ecstatic with the performance I had just seen. On the other hand, I was shocked and upset to have discovered the true capabilities of the human body when I can barely touch my toes…
There isn’t really much else I can say in this review other than that you should DEFINITELY go and watch this if you get the chance. I purchased a student ticket for €46, (however I did book this on the night before I went so the prices had gone up), but to be honest I thought it was definitely worth it! Whether you’re a circus fanatic or it’s the first time you’ve ever been to a show, I promise you that the Cirque du Soleil won’t disappoint.