Sophie Arthur

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ovo’ at Liverpool Echo Arena

Timing, Strength, Precision and Talent – four things required to make any Cirque du Soleil show a success. This year’s show ‘Ovo’ requires all of this and more through the medium of incredibly skilled performers who achieve a seamless display with a look of ease. The show is set in the hidden world that lives beneath us, comprising of insects, plants and all things creepy-crawly. The story of ‘Ovo’ reveals the circle of life in complex yet invisible worlds. Whilst we humans live our own lives, the critters live theirs, eating, playing and working before The Foreigner or Fly arrives with a mysterious egg…

Official image – Cirque du Soleil.

The community within this ecological niche is explored through every creature’s display of their own talent and contribution to their habitat. ‘Ovo’ is an investigation into the essence of symbiosis and the intricate web of survival through everyone’s ability combined. Each characterised creature proves that each unique talent is valuable and, in some cases, vital to the success of a community. No community could survive without the combination of all these creatures’ talents supporting each other and working and living together as a whole. A newcomer to a community may appear an outcast by looking different and behaving in an unconventional way. Although settlers can disrupt the current pattern of living, there is often a lesson to be learned about their own uniqueness that can contribute to the value of society.

Every insect; every act contributes to the dynamics of the microcosm of Cirque du Soleil, bringing it all together as one entity: Ovo. Just as each Cirque du Soleil performer comes together on stage to create a phenomenal spectacle, each story-line creature submits their own skill to survive as a community. The use of insects as characters cleverly reflected the abilities of the performers, when the show exhibited stunts that looked beyond human ability.

Official image – Cirque du Soleil.

Two world-renowned dynamic artists Catherine Audy and Alexis Trudel play the roles of dainty butterflies in ‘Ovo’. As the pair took to the air and flew around the lofty heights of the arena, their movements appeared so natural and dream-like as they floated at speed with effortless strength and grace.

The three fleas (Anatolii Boiko, Amber Brooke Fulljames and Nikolay Karyachkin), also displayed extreme agility as they leapt in the air, balanced on top of one another, and threw each other around the central region of the arena.

Qin Jiangming as the spider performed on his web (the slackwire) and showed incredible bravery and skill in balancing on a loose tightrope upside-down on a unicycle. The audience truly felt the urge to look away whilst not being able to!

The Firefly, as performed by Tony Frebourg, dabbled impeccably with his diabolos, tossing them into the rafters of the arena and catching them like second nature. Not to forget the six Ants who bounced from (proportionately) giant pieces of fruit using only the bottom halves of their bodies, and the Crickets who portrayed the value of teamwork that is so clearly encouraged throughout the storyline.

The music, costume, and props department blend perfectly both with each other, and the world in which ‘Ovo’ is set. The music and props intertwine in some of the performances making it impossible to separate the two. Meanwhile, the costumes that the performers wore looked like puppets that could appear in West End performances of The Lion King and War Horse, creating this beautiful deception of a non-human world. The lighting was also effective in providing reflections of the critters and was most prominent in the performance of the Fireflies.

The creator and director, Deborah Colker said that she did not want ‘Ovo’ to be solely about the insects or the dance, but rather a display of incredible movement; which we can safely say has been achieved. Each of the traditional circus acts is paid tribute to in their own special way, from diabolos to tightrope walking, contortion to aerial straps and acrobatics to trampolining. ‘Ovo’ is an experience that will be sure to take your breath away (mainly from holding in anticipation for an impossible fall), and if you want to see this performance while it’s touring the UK, all information can be found on the link below!

 

https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/ovo

Official image – Cirque du Soleil

 

Note: The use of flashing lights and strobe lighting is used in the show.

 

By Sophie Arthur and Rachael Wass

 

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