Toruk: The First Flight | United Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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OK, I get that the Tree of Souls sacred to the Na'vi--the blue folks from James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi movie, Avatar--is threatened by a volcanic eruption. And I get that three young Na'vi warriors set off on a quest for the five items they'll need to tame a Toruk, a big flying lizard, so one of them can ride it. But somebody is going to have to explain to me how riding the lizard translates into saving the tree. Or, more mystifying yet, how the lizard's help--which didn't look voluntary to me--yields the moral that everything is connected. Because that's completely muddled in this new piece of corporate synergy from Cirque du Soleil. And then there's the question of how a technologically exquisite arena production with some strikingly beautiful design elements and skilled acrobats can turn out to be such a bore? I think I know the answer to that one: Where you'd expect them to build on each other, the narrative actually pulls down the spectacle here while the spectacle confuses the narrative. --Tony Adler



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