Cirque du Soleil's latest venture to Australia is with the insect themed OVO, a show celebrating the biodiversity and wonder of the ecosystem and all things that move within in it. The particularly impressive set design by Gringo Cardio opens with a giant inflated OVO (portugese for egg) looming over the stage. The sense of the egg is never lost throughout and is the heart of the piece as 'The Foreigner' (Barthelemy Glumineau) travels into the colony with an egg strapped to his back much to the amusement and intrigue of all of the insects led by Master Flipo (Simon Bradbury)
Employing the successful Cirque du Soleil template, OVO follows a predictable journey of specialist acts interspersed with clowning and buffoonery. In each circumstance the artists being featured are the finest of performers. From every angle you watch them they are anything but normal. They are very special people with remarkable talents and a gift for telling a story without dialogue but through movement and interactions. None more than the foot juggling ants at the beginning of Act I. These six young women are without a doubt the nights highlight (it comes particularly early so make sure you are on time.) Their precision, balance and skill are beyond comprehension and particularly impressive. There is a small problem when you have such a highlight in the opening moments of a show, the audience expects it to build exponentially in its wow factor and unfortunately OVO does not do this. The audience is searching and longing for its next wow moment and that only appears once more deep into Act II when Spiderman (Ailati Julaiti) takes to his slackwire for some visually stunning and somewhat remarkable balancing.
Visually and musically OVO is stunning. Liz Vandal's insect costumes are some of the finest you will see on a stage and Berna Ceppas' Brazilian inspired scored complements the artists perfectly giving them just enough support to stylistically complete their journey and each moment. The musicians (cockroaches) are precise and perfectly balanced with Marie-Claude Marchand's haunting Sade esq voice effortlessly filling the Big Top with heart.
Maybe it is the fact that Cirque du Soleil is a 29 year old empire that has given us so many magical moments before OVO or maybe it is the increase in the amount of reality TV shows that highlight the extraordinary talents littered throughout our society, but there was a definite sense of 'having seen' what was being presented before, in a different context but in a similar form. This is somewhat surprising from a corporation that has always pushed the boundaries and been at the forefront of production and story telling with shows like Quidam and KA that take you to these fresh places stylistically and creatively.
Having the opportunity to see a Cirque du Soleil show is a must and OVO is no different. Though it may not redefine its own lofty heights in the art of circus, it still remains an evening filled with magic and wonder.
Runs until March 24
Under the Big Top Docklands