Cirque du Soleil's OVO - A Bug's Life is a Lot of Fun

March 10, 2011

The latest Cirque du Soleil touring show opens today under the Grand Chapiteau at Sam Houston Race Park, and it promises to provide a memorable evening.  We were invited by Cirque du Soleil for a media preview / dress rehearsal last night, and enjoyed a spectacular performance.

This 25th Cirque du Soleil production is titled OVO, it is a journey into the world of insects, a headlong rush into a thriving, colorful ecosystem populated by some very unique characters.  The show was written, directed and choreographed by Deborah Colker.

If it's your first time at a Cirque du Soleil performance, you must forget everything you know about a circus.  There are no animals -- although in OVO, there are no human characters, either.  (Everyone is a bug, in uniquely colorful costumes designed by Liz Vandal.)  There is ethereal original music, performed live.  There is very little talk. There are no clowns, although several of the characters are very funny.  While most circuses feel distinctly American, OVO is presented with an unmistakable French accent.  Cirque du Soleil is unique entertainment, an amazing spectacle that grabs you at the start and doesn't let go until the curtain call.

OVO is, in short, the story of a bug and his egg.  Along the way you'll experience beauty, love, loss, and endless feats of physical grace and acrobatics.  The performers in OVO are talented acrobats and graceful dancers, and you will find yourself lost in this fantasy world of color, light and sound.

We were repeatedly taken by the overwhelming sense of artistry in the performances.  There have been many shows with acrobatics and stunts, but none combine the level of artistic excellence that pervades Cirque du Soleil's DNA.  It's similar to the feeling when you walk into Walt Disney World after growing up on Six Flags.  The attention to detail is stunning.

As the story unfolds, you'll see contortion, balance, dexterity, strength, and bravery demonstrated in ways that you've probably never even thought of, much less seen.  You'll laugh at the romantic antics of a paternal bug and his adorable love interest.  You'll see acts on stage, flying high above, clinging to walls, and scurrying over all sorts of unique apparatus.

OVO is the seventh Cirque du Soleil show I've experienced, and it's one of the most engaging.  The Grand Chapiteau is a surprisingly intimate setting, with flowing, organic sets designed by Gringo Cardia.  No seat is too far from the stage.  The music is often more techno than new age, providing an energetic atmosphere for the throbbing ecosystem performing before your eyes.  As always the performers will thrill you with their superhuman talents, but OVO feels more intimate.  Its small moments are just as captivating as its big stunts.

If you've seen a Cirque du Soleil show, you'll love OVO.  And if you've never seen one, prepare to be hooked.

I have only one warning:  Don't try this at home.

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