Hey There Hoopla, the Circus is in Town

OVO - Cirque du Soleil
OVO – Cirque du Soleil. Image supplied

Remember the feeling you had when you saw the circus for the first time? Probably not. But you do recall that it was a magical experience filled with awe, wonder and excitement. Cirque du Soleil recaptures that feeling we thought was lost forever in their latest production OVO, which had it’s Australian premiere in Brisbane last week.

Upon arrival at the hard-to-miss landmark blue and yellow big top with the massive OVO ‘egg’ hot air balloon on display, you immediately feel a sense of occasion.

OVO is set amongst a micro-cosmos of colourful (and talented) insects, and begins with the arrival of a foreigner who carries a mysterious egg with him, and embarks on a love story between a sassy lady beetle and the attention seeking blue fly. Even though the egg was largely used to symbolise the cycle of life, it would have been nice after all the hoopla, to know what was actually in the egg!

What’s unique about this international production is that although the cast heralds from sixteen different countries and the show travels the globe, there is no language barrier as the lead cast members’ only need to learn a few select words in the local language, with the rest being funny insect chatter that no one can decipher, yet we can all understand.

Cirque du Soleil is what you’d expect – a world class performance, both spectacular and slick. Even the clowning was classy and part of the story, and not just a random fill in act between tricks. And even though the high quality of acts is expected (and delivered), don’t think that is the type of circus where “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”.

Cirque du Soleil is where the peak of human athleticism and the pinnacle of artistic excellence meet. The combination of awe-inspiring feats that push the boundaries of physical possibility with the creative minds of directors, choreographers, costume,  set and lighting designers accompanied by a brilliant original musical score is what makes Cirque du Soleil so unique and the experience so special.

OVO - Cirque du Soleil
OVO – Cirque du Soleil. Image supplied

The incredible acts included dance theatre with acrobatics, rope, trampolines, balancing partner work, diabolo, of course the high flying trapeze and many other acts I can’t even name because I’ve never seen them before. One was a strange “Creatura” that moved in a way that can only be described as a slinky. It was so intriguing it took a couple of minutes just to work out how many people were (or weren’t) used to manipulate it. The cocoon scarf act was visually beautiful, and the crickets who were literally bouncing off the walls were A-mazing. You’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite act as they all were unique and impressive in their own way – some required strength, some flexibility and others shear courage. Ok, if I had to pick one it would be the impressive foot juggling red ants with their big slices of kiwi fruit. They even juggled each other!

The costumes were just stunning with designer Liz Vandal’s signature style inspired by futuristic superheroes and suits of armour, capturing vibrant colours and our imagination with the appearance of the insects muscles, shells, and even hair. The most impressive designs would have to be the gorgeous dragonfly and the crickets with the clever way of attaching those big bendy back legs.

It was a nice touch to see the live eight-piece band incorporated into the fantasy set (designed by Gringo Cardia) with appropriately themed costuming. The atmospheric music under the stick of musical director / composer Berna Ceppas had a bright Brazilian flavour with a mixture of bossa nova and samba with funk, electro music, and lots of percussion, which of course you can buy the soundtrack from the merchandising stands. On a side note, Cirque du Soleil has the best merchandising I’ve seen to date. Not just nick-knack souvenirs but highly designed apparel and bags that you would want to use and wear, albeit a little pricey. I thought it quaint to note that the price tags had several different prices on the label along with the various country codes. See what I mean – slick!

Overall, OVO is a spectacularly fun show full of colour, talent, and wonder, and a much lighter variety than the usual darker twist of other Cirque du Soleil productions.

Cirque du Soleil not only provides a great night of world class entertainment for the family but offers a real chance to recapture some magical moments of your childhood. Do your inner child a favour and buy a golden ticket.


Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

Bobbi-Lea is AussieTheatre.com's QLD Co-ordinator, writer, reviewer, and reporter. She is also an actor, presenter, and theatre/film producer for Drama Queen Productions in Brisbane. Bobbi-Lea holds a Degree in Music Theatre as well as a Degree in Film & TV, and is currently doing her Masters in Screen Production.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

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