I attended the Cirque du Soleil in Santa Monica in 1987 when it first came to the United States. It was a revolutionary idea–a circus that combined acrobatics, dance, music and mime to create a spellbinding story. It was also a circus without animals–an idea way ahead of its time–instead focusing on this amazing troupe that had come together in a charming little village near Quebec City. What impressed me most was the intimate settings. We had all been to big tops and seen tiny little figures perform daring feats too far away to really appreciate. The Cirque du Soleil is more like a dinner guest setting up a high wire in your living room. You had to marvel at the skill involved.
Fast-forward 35 years, and the Cirque has a variety of themed shows happening all over the world. OVO, which has just returned to LA Live’s Microsoft Theater with a revised show, continues those intimate, close-up performances that amaze and delight. OVO revolves around “a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.” I need to mention here that I hate bugs.
But these insects are colorful, adorable, and charming. Even the much-despised cockroach finds life as musicians who keep the tempo going with international music that brings together samba, bossa nova, funk and electro grooves, with the beautiful song stylings of Julia Tazie.
The insects are also funny. As the show opens, a new arrival–an energetic, overconfident fly (Jan Dutler), with a mysterious bird’s egg strapped to his back (hence, the OVO in the title), joins the little ecosystem and soon falls head over heels for the ladybug, who, played magnificently by Neiva Nascimento, we also fell in love with. Along with a scarab known as Mr. Flipo (Gerald Regitschnig), this trio serve as the ringmasters and clowns of the show. I will never cease to be amazed by “cirque-speak,” which combines body language with onomatopoeia, nonsense words, and the occasional slang (OhhKayyy!) to get the meaning across to any audience member, no matter where they are in the world.
Over the next two hours, a colony of ants climb and swing from frighteningly tall poles, causing the audience to gasp as they seem to fall, only to catch the pole at the last possible moment. A contortionist dragonfly, whose balloon pants signify wings, spends much of his time balancing upside down, while butterflies emerge from their cocoons to become daring aerialists. Jumping beetles, creeping, contorting spiders, bouncing fleas and high-flying crickets join the fun and keep the suspense high. We might have preferred to see a little more action and shorter scenes with the clowns, but I’m sure others might have wished the opposite. It is not to be missed!
Cirque du Soleil runs through May 1, 2022 at The Microsoft Theater. Tickets are $128 – $409. Get your tickets here!
This is the first year Cirque du Soleil is performing during a five-year residency at Microsoft. Every year they will be returning with a new show. Lucky us!