As the bejeweled acrobat soared through the air and landed safely on a platform, I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding; my date let out an audible gasp, and the the guy in front of us erupted into shouts of “bravo!”
That is the magic of Cirque du Soleil –phrases such “the audience let out a collective sigh of relief,” “she was on the edge of her seat,” and “I forgot to breathe” aren’t just hyperbole. You’ll experience them all at “Ovo” at the Hampton Coliseum.
“Ovo”– the Portuguese word for “egg”– is a vibrant, kaleidoscopic show full of energy, movement, and unparalleled acrobatic acts exploring the colorful world of insects. Over fifty performing artists from sixteen different countries are transformed into everything from humble fleas and ants to majestic butterflies and fireflies. As always, Cirque creates an otherworldly experience through stunning costumes, sublime live music, and intense performances. And it was absolutely transcendent.
The show is comprised of 10 different acrobatic acts, each more stunning and captivating then the next. When the show opened with ants balancing giant slices of kiwis, I admit I wasn’t entirely sold on the insect concept but was intrigued about what was to come. Soon, however, it became apparent that insects — with their flying, leaping, and bounding movements — were the perfect inspiration for aerial and acrobatic acts. Plus, it gave the costume designer the opportunity to create gorgeous costumes with vivid colors and translucent wings.
Over the course of 2.5 hours you’ll witness everything from a hand-balancing dragon fly, to butterflies emerging from their cocoon to fly around on aerial straps, to grasshoppers on trampolines. While I’ve seen many aerial strap acts in various Cirque shows, this was, by far, the most graceful and sublime performance. The two butterflies floated through the air so effortlessly and with such beautiful movement it was nothing short of hypnotic. Another favorite act was the aerial cradle with 10 scarabs flying through the air. They were an intense act made even more nerve-wrecking as the performers flew through the air without safety wires or harnesses.
Between athletic acts in Cirque shows, the audience is usually entertained by clowns — “Ovo” is no different. This time, the clowns come in the guise of a love-sick blue fly and a flirtatious lady bug. We follow their courtship throughout the show. When they first came out, there was a gag involving a can of bug spray… I’ll be honest, I hoped the bug spray would put a quick and merciless end to this schtick. But, judging by the laughter of the audience around me, I’m probably just broken inside. I concede I’ve never quite understood the appeal of clowns… even chirpy cute bug ones.
Overall, “Ovo” is a splashy, energetic, and thoroughly enjoyable show for people of all ages. With a mix of serene, ethereal, energetic and intense acts, it’s beautifully arranged. The music has an Brazilian samba feel to it and is performed live by a band of what I believe were cockroaches. To me, part of the magic of the show was the fun of waiting to see what kind of bugs would come out next, and marveling at the impressive costumes and creativity.
If you have the opportunity, catch “Ovo” at the Hampton Coliseum. For more information on the show or to purchase tickets please follow this link.