Cirque du Soleil: Ovo
Royal Albert Hall, London, ★★★★✩
IT’S taken a while for Ovo — it means egg in Portuguese — to arrive in London, but it’s worth the wait. Cirque du Soleil’s collaboration with top Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker finds the Montreal circus giants back at their best.
The Cirque du Soleil brand has taken a bit of a battering in recent times: too many old ideas on a loop, a once edgy outfit overtaken by new kids in the ring.
But hatching the plan to hire Colker was an inspired one: renowned for her ability to integrate giant props with quirky choreography — one of her shows features a giant Ferris wheel — Colker pulls off the tricky balance of showcasing Cirque’s spectacular acts while creating the feel of a fully-formed, integrated spectacle.
Egg is the loosest of themes, in as much as it serves as a symbol of the beginning of life. A better title might be Green Planet: the stage teems with fantastical life as bugs bounce and critters skitter and scatter. The acts, all top-notch, are kitted out in creature costumes that make you feel like you’ve stumbled on a parallel universe, one where bodies bend double (and triple, these guys can f-l-e-x) and bounce into the skies like superhumans. Or superbugs.
The hitch with a Cirque du Soleil show is always the linking comedy, and Colker, who played a major part in the ceremonies for her hometown Rio Olympics in 2016, sticks with the organic theme by whipping up a faltering romance between an excitable fly and a seductive ladybird. It’s cute, if a tad overplayed.
But you’d forgive a lot for a show packed with wall to wall, floor-to-ceiling highlights with aerial duo Catherine Audy and Alexis Trudel and wire-walker Jianming Qiu worth special mention. Cirque du Soleil on a downer? No way, with Ovo they’ve cracked it again.