Thursday, October 15, 2009

OH! GO! - OVO - Cirque Du Soleil Review

Cirque Du Soleil's OVO - Le Grand Chapiteau - The Port Lands - Toronto, ON - ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Written, Choreographed and Directed by Deborah Colker
Runs in Toronto until Nov. 8th 2009. Tour continues to San Francisco, San Jose, Philadelphia, New York City, etc.

OVO is the latest new offering by the Cirque Du Soleil folks (at least it will be before the new show Banana Schpeel opens in Chicago in November. Man they are just cranking out these shows now aren't they?) but while OVO joins the numerous touring shows under the famous Blue and Yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Tent), it is the first Cirque show ever to be directed by a woman AND a dance choreographer.

And it shows! And (OV)OH what a SHOW!

OVO (Graphically looking like the eyes and antennas of a bug, and meaning Egg) is probably the most literal Cirque show I've seen, and probably has the most easily understood narrative. Instead of the usual artsy allegorical "story", OVO simply delves into the world of bugs as one insect loses an Egg and tries to recapture it back (Think A Bug's Life but live).

In the meantime, Grasshoppers bounce around the tent and off the walls, Ants toss corn and kiwi slices around on their feet. A spider contorts her body in the midst of a web, and Crickets fly around on the highwires. It's the usual array of Cirque circus acts and as always, they look simple at first, then mesmerizing once comprehension sinks in. You know the world is still going to be okay when cynicism disappears and you hear the collective audience respond with "oohs" and "aaahs" and audible gasps.

As with recent Cirque touring shows (like Koozå), Cirque is bringing their shows back to basics and back to its circus roots, before they went gimmicky and all Vegas glitz, so the basic circus acts at the core of OVO are pretty plain and simple (and not totally original if you've already seen other Cirque shows or even a Chinese acrobatic act). There's the contortionist, the acrobatics, the wire walker, the trampoline tumblers.

Director/Choreographer Colker takes all these basic circus elements and culls them into a beautifully flowing show through better transitioning elements that use dance and choreography to blend all the acts into one long show (Cirque is famous for this blend already but this show flows better than ever). Colker has the different acts interact not just in the transitions but have others on the sidelines watching the focus central act, and in some portions, have different acts return and mix in their acts together. It simply creates a dazzling nonstop shows. The best Cirque du Soleil show I have seen yet.

As usual, the costumes are simply dazzling, this time evoking the array of insects. The grasshoppers are particularly impressive. Meanwhile, the set, and the set changes are so inventive and clever and change so smoothly from one scene to another that by the end of the show, the backwall (an area rarely used as a central focus in the Grand Chapiteau shows) seemed to come out of nowhere (even though it had been looming over the set the whole time). The grasshoppers hop around in the final spectacular sequence with trampolines that appear out of the ground, while Ants crawl across the back wall.

Once again, Cirque nicely balances the show between theatrical entertainment (with the usual original musical scores and live singers), circus tricks at its core, the traditional circus clowns disguised this time as the head insect, the fool who loses the egg, and a lady bug lover who manages to tie the show together. From giant flower set pieces to the initial giant egg seen upon the stage as the audience enters the tent, OVO creates a luscious awe inspiring experience that manages to fully envelope the Cirque mantra at its best.

Vance at


Unknown said...

That's what I love about Cirque du Soleil - they always have something fresh, new, and - yes - different. If only the tickets are cheaper, I will be going everytime.

Anna Yip said...

Not to worry. I dug around and found this great link for discounted tickets to this fantastic show! Here you go: