Review: Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

We got a chance to check out "TOTEM," the new Cirque du Soleil show in town now through Sept. 15. (Driving down I-71, you can't miss the distinctive blue-and-yellow tents they set up on the Ohio State Fairgrounds for their home base.)

A few things to know if you're trying to figure out whether this would be a good outing for the family….

Despite what I would call a couple of "PG-13 moments" in the second act of the show, this lively and visually breathtaking production is quite family-friendly.

There's a bit of "locker room" humor between two of the male clowns, some drinking humor from another clown (but it really is done in a gently and genuinely funny manner), and a roller-skating act with a characteristically bizarro Cirque overlay of romance (really just an excuse to give the two artists a chance to catch their breath between death-defying feats).

And despite some costumes appearing to be scant, none are: Most performers are wearing full body stockings.

I saw plenty of kids there and no parents ran screaming to the exits with their hands over their kids' eyes. That said, for the pricey price of a Cirque ticket (a family four-pack for two adults and two children between the ages of 2 and 12 starts at $160), I suspect that a lot of this show might be wasted on a child under, say, 5 or 6 years old.

The show's theme, which you can learn all about on their website, is ostensibly about evolution, but it wasn't a heavy-duty theme. However, I was surprised to find a negative comment about that detail on their website's user reviews.

If you've never been to a Cirque show and really don't know what to expect, you might want to visit the websiteand check out some of the videos. It is definitely not what you might expect from a "circus" show.

All that said, TOTEM is a spectacular show and probably the most memorable of the three Cirque shows I have seen.

-Jane Hawes