Review: Cirque du Soleil’s OVO

Cirque du Soleil has been performing all over the world since 1984. Long before there was America’s got Talent, there was Cirque du Soleil. The Montreal troupe revolutionized what a modern “circus” could truly be – giving its talented cast a global stage to shine. Cirque du Soleil’s OVO opened in Los Angeles on March 16, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in DTLA. Opening night offered a celebratory vibe with photo ops, performers entertaining the crowd in the lobby, and free champagne. You could feel the excitement…it was great to be out, having all been mostly shut in due to the pandemic for the past two years.

 The Foreigner and the Ladybug; photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleiel

“OVO” takes us on a journey through the daily life of insects and their very busy ecosystem. The plot centers around a newcomer who arrives with an extraordinary large egg strapped to his back. His attention is diverted by a flirtatious ladybug, while the insect community sneaks off with his prized possession. This relationship develops throughout the show, as he squares off with the pink bellied, green haired leader of the bugs, who is not happy with this new found relationship. All this is revealed to the audience without words, just squeaks, squawks, and coos. Our ability to follow the plot via this amusing gibberish and gestures is a testament to the talent of these performers.

Throughout the show, aerial acts, tumblers, acrobatic performers, and trapeze artists kept us wondering “How do they do that?” The audience clearly liked what they saw, and cheered for the outrageous death defying acts. We were all in disbelief while watching a contortionist bend her body in an unimaginable way while holding herself upside down on a circular balance beam. The show included pole climbing (and dropping), wall climbing, bouncing off trampolines, and Cirque du Soleil’s signature (characters) clowns. Eventually the newcomer must choose between the egg (which keeps reappearing throughout the show), and the beguiling ladybug. True love wins out…only to have the egg crack just before the stage cut to black, leaving the audience to ponder its meaning.

Ovo at the Microsoft Theatre in 2022; photo by Kathy Leonardo; courtesy of ETG

As always, the music was top notch, and the set design was fun, whimsical and imaginative. Kudos to the costume designer…creating elaborate outfits which allowed the performers to move freely. The grasshopper costumes were quite clever. Other beautiful elements in the show included an insect emerging from its cocoon which was suspended in the air and a projected video backdrop that gave visual depth to the spectacle.

All the performers did a great job, despite one little blunder during a diabolo act. Shortly after the juggler appeared onstage, he lost one of his cups. There was a gasp from the audience…but he soon redeemed himself by tossing more and more cups into the air, higher and higher nearly reaching the roof of the Microsoft Theatre. The crowd cheered him on.

The show progressed seamlessly from act to act, comedy to acrobatics, solo performers to larger groups. While our eyes and attention were focused on one part of the stage… aerial performers took their positions high above, and so on. My favorite segment was a trapeze duo in the first act. This sensual pair allowed their bodies to intertwine as they dangerously dangled from the trapeze swing. I also loved the larger group acts and the comedy vignettes. For a couple hours last night I was taken on a journey to a world filled with the stuff of dreams.

Ovo is in rotation of the Cirque du Soleil’s shows – so visit the website to see when Ovo is coming to a city near you.

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