Cirque de Soleil. Written and Directed by Deborah Colker. The Grand Chapiteau, Docklands (Vic). From January 17th, 2012

When I told my Beloved that the new Cirque de Soleil show we were seeing was about insects, he quipped “Should we take Aerogard?” We didn’t, and we weren’t at risk from the “insects”, only from the air-conditioning. Essential on the hottest night of the year, (we would have died without it) the noise from it was both deafening and painful, but not distracting. Nothing can ever distract from the magic and wonder that is at the core of every Cirque de Soleil show.

OVO, like all its predecessors, has a very slight storyline which helps to thematically tie the show together. This time it’s about a strange new insect (Barthelemy Glumineau) which arrives in the insect world carrying an egg…the symbol of new life and beginnings…and promptly falls in love with a gorgeous bootylicious ladybug (Michelle Matlock) under the scrutiny of Master Flipo (the wonderful Simon Bradbury).

The brilliance of Ovo extends across the board but without the spectacular set and prop design of Gringo Cordia – ranging from gigantic opening flowers, to spiders webs and even a huge termite wall, the magic would not be complete. Then there are the spectacular costumes by Liz Vandal….this time utilising fine leather and rubber for the insects’ bodies in place of the usual silks and beads. Add Julie Begin’s make-up design, Berna Ceppas’score and musical direction (the band, under Jean-Francois Bedard, adds new dimensions to the term “excellent”), and the great light and sound, and we’re ready to be transported.

As with all Cirque productions, the acts are spectacular and are fully integrated into the theme. Thus the astonishing diabolo work of Tony Frebourg is presented as a firefly darting across the vast stage…and the finale trampo-wall act, which has to be seen to be believed, is performed by crickets flying 6 metres up a wall to catch an ant. The mid-boggling beauty of a chrysalis fighting its way out of the cocoon to become a butterfly (Nadine Louis) is a spiritual as well as a visual experience, and Spiderman (Julaiti Ailati) worked the slackwire with a quality rarely seen at anytime in circus history.  Every act is brilliant, every performer excels, even when upstage and almost invisible. If they didn’t, they couldn’t be part of Cirque de Soleil. If OVO didn’t grab me and shake in the way some other Cirque shows have, it’s only because it’s difficult to keep improving on perfection, and just as hard to find new superlatives. Seeing a Cirque de Soleil show is a transporting experience for young and old and last night we were all on our feet as tens of thousands of pastel tissue and foil butterflies gently drifted down on our heads and hands (I brought a bagful of them home with me to keep the memory alive). If you have never been to Cirque de Soleil, I have only one word: WHY?

Coral Drouyn

Photographs: OSA Images.

More Reading

Summer Soleil

Keeping the insects in harmony

Costumes that fly

Our initial coverage.

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