Who would have thought a giant egg could be so entertaining!
There are few Circus acts which hold as much gravitas as Cirque Du Soleil, so we were delighted to be invited down to the launch night of their show OVO. This show has been touring the world for a while now, but this was the first time it was on UK soil and in none other than the Royal Albert Hall.
For those of you who live under a rock and have not heard of Cirque Du Soleil, they bring together the best circus performers from around the world and wrap it all together with dance and theatrics.
Some of the performers are previous world-class athletes some former Olympians! So you should expect the standard of performance to be high. With over 50 performers making up the troop, it seems everyone right down to the riggers take their role very seriously and have practised very hard to make their contribution to the show count.
The level of detail in the choreography really did surprise me, and despite very technical transitions of apparatus, everything flowed seamlessly.
The show is mostly about the circus acts, but in true Cirque Du Soleil style, there's a theme and story that flows through the performance holding it all together. This show is really about energy and life, and despite the occasional appearance of an egg (OVO is Portuguese for egg) it's the cast of insects ranging from flies, ladybirds and grasshoppers who bring the show to life. As you would expect the costumes are fantastic and the character acting is also very well rehearsed with every little detail well thought out a beautifully choreographed.
I found the details during the transitions between acts are almost as exciting as the big ticket acts themselves. There were some comedic elements which some people may have struggled with, with typically Cirque Du Soleil's unconventional clowning around and slap stick comedy. I found it to be harmless enough and while not the highlight of the show they provided a welcome break from the excitement of the acrobatic displays.
The Royal Albert Hall is a stunning venue, but not without its challenges to set up such elaborate rigging and apparatus, and you can see the enormous effort made to make everything work seamlessly. The set and audio-visual elements are at a very high standard at this show, with ambient noises of the creepy crawly world bouncing around the theatre and a mix of live and recorded music accompanying the show.
So we've got a great venue? Check! A great set? Check! Great music and lights? Check! Great costumes and dancers? Check! OK, let's move onto the main event, the circus performers. As most of you will know this is where Cirque Du Soleil really shine, so what's in store at OVO?
The acts are quite simply out of this world. My mind boggled at the defiance of the laws of physics displayed on the stage (or suspended from the roof) with every act showing such skill and control it almost diminished the impact; it was so well executed you almost forgot how challenging some of the performances were.
The highlight performance for me had to be the slack wire. If you get to see this show, this guy will blow your mind! It still baffles me as to how someone could have so much control over what was a loose wire suspended a few meters off the ground. Words don't do it justice, but to try to give you some insight. This performer who I believe is called Li Wei, got up on the slack wire, proceeded to do rolls and flips, balances on poles and all manner of gravity-defying stunts. Where my mind completely melted was when he got on a unicycle, proceeded to do a headstand on it and peddled this thing up and down the wire using his hands to turn the peddles.
My mind was blown by this point yet the displays of skill just kept coming! I won't go into explicit detail about the other performances as I don't want to spoil the experience for anyone who goes. What I will say is that there was not one act which left me underwhelmed and even the cut sequences between acts kept me watching with intrigue and delight. If you get the chance to go, you will not be disappointed.
OVO is going to be showing at the Royal Albert Hall right through to the beginning of March.