Thursday, February 4, 2010

POPped Review: Cirque du Soleil's 'Ovo'

There is nothing like going to a Cirque du Soleil show to make you realize that you have accomplished very little in life. With people of all ages showing how far they can push the human body, or what real concentration and determination looks like, you smile and applaud while thinking, "Man. I am lazy." But you know what, it doesn't matter. Getting the chance to see a Cirque show is something I will never pass up. And this past week I received the opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal performance of Cirque du Soleil's lastest touring show Ovo. What exactly is Ovo? In simplest terms, it's a large egg. Well, not really a large egg. It's shown as this size because all of the characters are insects of some sort. This leads to some of the most creative costumes I have seen in one of their shows since Varekai. One of the most interesting to look at are the Cricket costumes. Creating the illusion of the reversed knees makes you do a double take every time they hit the stage. And you find out towards the end of the show why these are the crickets. They leap around the stage, and up the wall of the stage, with such ease and power that at a point you wonder whether or not they planned to land that close to the edge of the stage. But you have a while until you can get to this act.

The show does begin a little slow as the Ovo is brought into the group. I know that with every show, the creators are looking for ways to trim, add, tweak or completely revamp; So I'm hoping that this will adjust with time. But in it's current form it was quite a few minutes of not a lot happening on stage except for the Cirque-ese that they speak, and a lot of walking around. (This did happen in the Finale/Bows as well.) However once the Ants hit the stage with their foot juggling act, the show steamed along and didn't miss a beat. Their clowns had just the right mix of the absurd and silliness to keep the attention of people of all ages. This was proved by the little girl sitting next to us no more than 4 years old who would give a smile of amazement at my date every time something happened. And that smile was on my face as well with each act that became more thrilling as the next. I was also surprised at how much more sensual some of the acts were for this show. Do not get me wrong, I am in no way saying this is a bad thing. I just see how much more Cirque is willing to push the envelope with this sensuality. This is demonstrated by the couple doing their rope routine on the Love Duet of the Butterflies. I joked to myself and wondered if we were intruding on them. The performance was that personal and intimate that I truly felt that this couple was about to get it on and we were about the see it. (This did not happen.) I would have yelled, "Get a room!" However that would have lead to someone plummeting the stage and breaking their neck.

Outside of the show itself, there is something that has always stood out to me with Cirque shows. It is incredibly obvious how much fun the cast is having performing. Not only does their timing have to be perfect, but they must remain in character the entire time. And they enjoy this. This fun translates to the audience having a great time. Along with great casting, Cirque is a master at something really important in theater. Distraction. They have perfected having your attention focused on something while another part of the stage is being set for a different routine. I found myself duped quite a few times during the show. When I'm at a show and not paying attention the mechanics or technical aspects, it means that either the show blows or it has me caught up in it. And this show had me caught up in it.

I can not recommend enough that you go and see Ovo. While every seat in the the tent (or Grand Chapiteau) is good, you may want to try and find seats towards the front center. We had out seats on the side and the view was great, but I'm hoping to go back and be in the Premium Section for an even better view. And me wanting to go back to a show is a great sign.

Ovo opens this week in San Jose, California and will be there through late March. From there it travels to New York. Take the jump over to Cirque du Soleil's web site for more touring information and to buy your tickets.

POPped in the tent by Jungle Jesse

1 comment:

  1. I get to see this on February 12 and am really looking forward to it. Thank you for getting even more excited to see it!