I’ve seen Cirque du Soleil performances before, so I thought I had a pretty good idea about what I was getting from VOLTA. I was wrong. VOLTA is next level and I cannot tell you enough times to go see it.
Where do I start? The huge white big top itself is gorgeous, unusual, magical and set the right scene from the second we approached. I should have realised then that we were about to see something special.
We were lucky enough to get great seats and find ourselves really in the thick of the show. We were just a few rows back from the stage, and in the center, so we could look right into the eyes of the performers. Their spirit, skill and pure love of what they were doing was inspiring. And what they were doing absolutely blew my mind.
VOLTA has a real action-sports vibe in its production (I found out later that the directors have been collaborating with Red Bull extreme sports athletes), and the performance switched beautifully between high-voltage BMX bike-riding to graceful dance interludes to some truly incredible acrobatics. I found myself enjoying swings, spins and sensational entertainment right from the very beginning.
The BMX work was, for me, the highlight of the show – the performers flipped, whirled, rotated and pushed their bikes into positions that seemed to defy the laws of physics. It was amazing to watch! I think it was about more than just their skill, though – the staging was very creative. (The stage itself was dynamic so could lift, shift and move to push the athletes through their paces even harder.) I never felt like I really knew what was going to happen next.
I also appreciated that the spectacle of the show supported rather than overwhelmed the story, and the lead character’s journey of transformation was beautifully sketched. The bright and brilliant costumes helped track the rhythm of his changing persona and communicated a sense of high performance as well as thrills and spills.
You do need to know that the show itself is in French (as it’s staged in a majority French-speaking area), but you can still easily follow it if you’re not Francophone (acrobatics needs no translation). There are also a lot of dance elements which hold the entire production together, but, for me, they helped with the flow of the story.
What can I tell you about Cirque du Soliel VOLTA? I wasn’t expecting any of it. I thought we would have a good night, but it was incredible. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that. It’s a fusion of dance, action sports, theatre and acrobatics. See it if you can.
The show can be seen in Gatineau, QC until the 27th of August and from the 7th to 29th of November in Toronto, ON. More information can be found at https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta.