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Cirque du Soleil whisks Los Angeles back for another breathtaking trip into the imagination with the national tour of “Ovo”. “Ovo” means egg in Portuguese. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck in wonderment about this iconic object. This enigmatic symbol of the life cycle and birth of numerous insects mimics the black slab seen in the Stanley Kubrick film “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The audience is invited to the colony, making its temporary home in the Microsoft Theater in the L.A. Live complex.
The first act sees an army of ants playfully scaling up and sliding down a trio of poles. Each ant performs flips, spins, and jumps between the poles and other ants. The musical accompaniment utilizes the violin to accent the actions of the ants much like in an animated cartoon. Spider-man has his work cut out for him.
The second act has an elegant dragonfly take to the stage and on top a narrow foliage for hand balancing. Evoking the image of puttering wings in dramatic slow-motion wrapped in and around a green stem.
The show shifts its focus to a trio of colorful, comedic, and enduring cast of characters the audience follows during this exploration of the insect world. The lonesome lady bug takes an interest in the blue fly carrying an oversized egg. An elderly beetle with purple scales and green hair looks out for what he believes is in the best interest of the insect community. And becomes a silly foil to the blue fly. But nothing will stop the blue fly from winning the affections of the lovely lady bug.
An overhanging cocoon begins its metamorphosis in a solo aerial silk contortion act. The silk blanket breaks loose only after the creature inside twisted and stretched the layers apart to reveal its beautiful transformation to the outside world. This visual is highlighted with the performer fluttering the silk rope like newborn wings. Free to fly. The projected background spews a cosmic splash of reds, blues, and purples.
The next scene organically transitions to a pair of butterflies with duo straps. A natural build up taking flight to fill the sky. Swooping and spinning in tranquil passion. They look and feel more at home in the air. One could not live without the other. Bonding together in equal symmetry. Coexistence peaks when one partner spins her upside-down body at unbelievable speed held up only by a thin silk rope wrapped around a single ankle.
Creatura can best be described as an otherworldly centipede with part slinky and part insect movements. Photos could not do the creature justice. It bends, stretches, and twists to the energetic music. Wiggling in and out with glee.
A family of scarabs soar above the stage and over a safety net. Holding a strong grip in each others arms, one produces a powerful swing from between the legs and up and across the air. Ready to traverse in mid-air. Transferring from one end to the other with near misses accent the scale of this visual spectacle prior to intermission.
Crickets take an interest in a spider binding and twisting their arachnid limbs perched atop an egg sac-like base. The graceful spider ends the balance of their contorted body hands-free ontop their chin. A gentle but strong build upon returning to the second half of the show.
Diabolo or Chinese yo-yo plays the part of wandering fireflies against a screen projection of the illuminating insect. Keep your eyes focused on the four spools spinning mid-air, in small and large circles.
A beautifully serene violin performance accompanies two fleas maneuvering over and under each other’s bodies whilst hanging from a trapeze swing bar. At times letting go and capturing each other with smooth accuracy. The violinist strings up images of a cartoon insect rubbing their legs together resulting in chirping noises enchanting the silent darkness.
The final act closes with crickets crawling, falling, and bouncing their way across a rock wall that has prominently stood as the main backdrop to the previous acts. Just as you may find real crickets jumping from one spot to another should you encounter them in the real world. Flipping their way to a solid landing to thunderous applause.
“Ovo” is a fantastic gem that glows with colorful delight. The sights, sounds, costumes, backdrops, and energy pulls the audience into the realm of insects. All the engrossing acts are special in their own way for cleverly and creatively exploring and envisioning these small creatures into the human scale. The screen projection backgrounds matched with the mood of each performance.
There were only a handful of oversized props and set pieces to immerse into the story such as a flower, eggs, and leaves. The vibrant costumes recognized the special abilities of the human acrobats and therefore matched their exterior armor, antennas, segmented scales, and fuzzy protrusions like superheroes from a comic book. The audience is able to recognized through visuals, sounds, and movement what each performance is meant to convey in the insect world.
Like watching a live nature documentary reinterpreted on stage. Amongst the brilliant design work, the favorite costume piece will have to go to the crickets. The red eyes on top of their heads against the green exterior and exposed leg limbs that bend in a direction that can clearly be seen as insect from across the room makes this a standout.
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“Ovo” by Cirque du Soleil
Performs now until May 1, 2022 at Microsoft Theater in the L.A. Live entertainment complex just across from STAPLES Center in Downtown Los Angeles. You won’t want to miss this tribute to the underappreciated members of the animal kingdom.