Review of 'Cirque du Soleil - Ovo'

ovo.jpg https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/press/kits/shows/ovo/acts.aspx

After seeing many of Cirque's shows over the years I still often hesitate when a new show comes around. The tickets are often very expensive but I never regret it when I have been to see the show. So, was “Ovo” worth it? Absolutely. An amazing show that does not seek to be anything more than a whole lot of fun.

We were lucky enough to be in row 7 in the stalls at the Royal Albert Hall. One Cirque du Soleil show we were up in the circle and although the view of the auditorium was great we lost the impact of many of the performances so now we pretty much have to sit in the stalls to get the full experience. Of course it does mean that you can attract the attention of the clowns…but we avoided any audience participation. In the second half they took a lady from the audience and dressed her as a ladybug and had her use a paddle on two other characters…There is also the appearance late in the show of what I can only call a giant “slinky” which is absolutely spellbinding as it moves across the stage.

The theme of “Ovo” is that of nature with the cast dressed as various fantastic bugs with bright colours and imaginative design (the grasshoppers were particularly amazing with the legs sticking out at the back and attached to the feet…there was a spider as well…). The set is minimal with a large climbing wall at the back and several large flowers that open and shut to the left and right of the wall. In keeping with other shows, the principle singer is visible throughout on a small circular section to the left of the main stage. Unusually the audience was allowed to take pictures but told not to use a flash (this worked well except for the child to our left that had an iPad whose screen distracted when powered on for photos).

The acts, of course, are astounding and Ovo particularly has some unusual acts that are not in other Cirque shows. The show started off with six small performers laying on their back spinning objects (and themselves) on their feet. Next was a contortionist who worked with an abstractly formed metal frame. Several “crysalis” on the stage opened to reveal two performers that ended up flying using a length of fabric hanging from the ceiling over the stage and audience in a breathtaking display of athleticism. The final performance in the first half was high above the stage with three sections spaced six meters apart between which several ladies in the cast were thrown by large men. I have never seen anything like this before and it was quite amazing to see everything done using personal strength and agility alone.

Before the second half there was a twenty minute interval during which the trapeze aparatus was removed in preparation for the following acts. It started with what looked like a potato on which a lady contortionist performed feats that made many in the audience cringe as she tied herself almost literally in knots. Following this was an expert on the “Chinese Yoyo” (a large hourglass-shaped plastic yoyo that is controlled using two sticks connected by a rope on which the yoyo balances, unattached) who took the sport to extremes often throwing the large yoyo high into the metal rigging above the stage. It was when he threw the ropes controlling the yoyo into the air as well as the yoyo itself that we were really impressed, that and when he had several yoyos at the same time thrown to him by another case member. Next was a performer on a (seriously) slack wire who not only walked, ran and jumped along it but also rode a unicycle then balanced on top of a metal bar on to of the wire…The finale used the back wall to jump on and off the wall onto large trampolines set up below along with a second set of gymnasts that had a stretch of bouncy pads to allow them to perform fast tumble routines that landed in a large bag.

As with other shows there is a story that we is threaded between the acts played out by the “clowns” or other supporting characters and this one focuses on a foreign bug arriving into a small community of other bugs (initially carrying a giant egg - the “Ovo” of the show's title). This “foreigner” falls for a ladybug and much of the action focuses on him trying to woe her and get the approval of the “leader” bug.

The show ended at about 9:30 with, of course, a standing ovation. During this the cast removed their masks (or came out of their costumes) to take the applause.

Quite an amazing show with a number of very unique acts, great costumes and, as always, wonderful music. The spirit here I found much lighter than other Cirque shows which gave it a far more “fun” feeling. Yeah, it is expensive, but it is worth it.

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-02-08



Royal Albert Hall

Location: London (England)

Address: Kensington Gore, Kensington, London SW7 2AP ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE South Kensington TUBE Gloucester Road

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7589 8212

URL: http://www.royalalberthall.com/

Simply my favourite concert hall in the world. When I lived in the United Kingdom after moving here from Canada I spent one of my first summers attending the Proms and I fell in love with the hall. It's warm inviting shape along with amazing acoustics and elegant, yet not completely over the top, decor. Many famous people have played here and many more still do.

For bigger shows I do not mind being up in the circle, but only if it is in the middle. The circle seats in the front rows off to the sides have a railing to content with. Seating in the stalls is very good but it can be difficult to take in any large spectacles on the stage. One thing to look out for are any concerts where they use the organ - A magnificent, restored beast that shakes the very walls when in use.