Cirque du Soleil TOTEM

On Tuesday evening I was treated to a wonderful show at Cirque du Soleil, TOTEM.

The blue-and-yellow big top has returned to Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse and the show is in one word – AMAZING!

It was my fourth live Cirque du Soleil production and the second show I have watched which was directed by Robert Lepage (together with Cirque du Soleil, KÀ, which I experienced with my husband at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, in 2012).


TOTEM Hoops Dancer - Melbourne Girl

TOTEM - Lumo Suits


Cirque du Soleil continues to surprise and captivate the senses on every level, no show is ever disapointing and TOTEM raises the bar in terms of my experience, because I also had the pleasure of heading back stage to meet some of the cast and see the amazing costumes up close.

The production features a cast of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers from 17 countries (Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States).


Flemington - TOTEM TOTEM - Melbourne Girl - Flemington


Not only are they the fittest group going round, they are also genuinely multi-talented, having to get themselves warmed up and dressed prior to every show, as well as having to do their own hair and makeup! Seriously impressive!

I’m told it can take up to three hours to get ready (pending the cast member). The feature frogs for example are a true work of art – take a look at the beautiful sketch below which the actors attempt to replicate prior to every performance.


BTS - Frog Makeup - Melbourne Girl

BTS - TOTEM - Headpieces

BTS - TOTEM - Melbourne Girl


Costume designer, Kym Barrett’s initial approach to the TOTEM designs was rooted in documentary-based reality.

To recreate such a broad range of textures, colours and markings found in nature, Kym concentrated on the treatment of fabrics rather than on the fabrics themselves: advanced printing techniques, fluorescent pigments, mirror fragments and crystals allowed her to “paint” on canvases as varied as Lycra and leather, with results that constantly interact with and adapt to the show’s ever-changing lighting.



The Crystal Man – a recurring character (I like to refer to as ‘disco ball man’), represents the TOTEM  life force. His dazzling costume (literally) is entirely covered of small mirrors and crystals. The glittering mobile mosaic is made up of about 4,500 reflective components on a stretch velvet leotard.

In the opening scene the marsh is populated by fish and frogs. Their patterns and colours came from real fish and frogs, the textures of the fabrics are also a close match to the skin of these creatures.


BTS - Monkey Masks - Melbourne Girl

BTS - TOTEM - Make Up Storage

BTS - MAC Makeup - Melbourne Girl


The details in the costumes and make up, the stunning set and projection transformations, along with the magnificent on-stage equipment make for one hell of a show – which is suitable for all the family.


To learn more about the show and to buy tickets, head over to



You’re going to love it to!

Emily x


Emily Collie is Founder and Editor of well-known Australian travel blog, Melbourne Girl. Emily has written travel articles for Expedia, eHarmony, Amex Shop Small Blogger Series and, and has been featured on many Australian websites including Mimco Mimzine and Bonds Australia Blog, and was invited on behalf of the VRC and Myer, to judge the Myer Fashions on the Field competition on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day.

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