Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ovo’ pleases and teases

Even before Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ovo’ show opened at Geneva’s Arena 7 last month, the fun, the suspense and the child-like expectation had already begun.

Dramatically on stage stood gaunt-like, a giant speckled egg, while performers dressed as grasshoppers hopped around playfully in the aisles and others in even stranger outfits used butterfly nets and shining torches to pick imaginary insects on audience member shoulders.

Meanwhile, other performers, perched high on tall, flexible poles, swung with impressive agility back and forth, waving all the while to the audience.

With an ever-changing, back-lit screen depicting plant and flower life and a succession of dancers, singers and actors in multi-colored insect and bug costumes, the highly-creative Canada-based Cirque du Soleil troupe provided plentiful spills and thrills with memorable individual and group acrobatics, some seemingly impossible for the human body to achieve physically.

Take for example the talented Chinese waifs who entertained a packed audience with a balancing act with strong, nimble feet spinning aloft in the air at breakneck speed what looked like giant slices of kiwi, as well as a quite astounding feat by which they did the same to each other in turn.

Other splendid acts included a cat-like woman dressed in a tight-fitting black and white leather one-piece, with pretend whiskers, who performed bodily contortions that seemed Otherworldly, as well as a rope-balancing act on a bicycle, Russian Cradle, a group of trapeze artists dressed as shiny scarab beetles; and a gymnast with arms of steel who balanced perfectly upside down, creating near ‘inhuman’ twists, turns and bends with his body.

Humor was plentiful with a light love story motif threaded through the evening focusing on the hapless attempts by a bluebottle – the ‘egg-carrier’ – to woo a chubby orange ladybug. One of the funniest scenes is what can best be described as a ‘clanging sword dance.’ Don’t forget to watch out for the hilarious, headless extensible worm.

Audience interaction is also an amusing element of the show with one skit involving a mating dance with a female audience member which includes some playful ‘backside padding.’

The climactic choreographed routine is an intricate, dynamic trampoline-to-wall dancing sequence involving crickets, a ladybird and a bluebottle.

As befitting the theme, the music is lively and upbeat, with Brazilian samba style elements dominating, but also French accordion, country-western, and even Beethoven.

A stronger story-line would enhance the show even more as would a more improved first half, which at times seemed like simply one circus act following another with no ‘narrative glue’ linking them all.

‘Ovo’ is the kind of show that’s suitable for all family members, regardless of age and is now touring in Europe.

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