I’m starting to get the idea that Cirque du Soleil swings into San Francisco once every two years. It’s usually around the same time every year after Thanksgiving through January and always sets up shop in AT&T Park. Avid followers of my blog know how I get excited by activities at AT&T Park, so I immediately opened up the calendar to find a date once I heard Ovo was making its U.S. premiere in San Francisco. The launch of Ovo marks the 25th anniversary of Cirque du Soleil which is truly amazing, because I can’t believe it’s been around that long.
Generally speaking, I have found the Las Vegas-based shows, Mystère, KÀ and O to be better than the touring shows, but I’ve only seen two touring ones, Corteo and Kooza so it may not be a fair judgement. I had no idea what Ovo was about… all I knew was it had something to do with an egg since there is a big fat egg serving as the show’s logo, which makes sense since Ovo means “egg” in Portuguese, and someone had told me the theme was insects. Honestly, this didn’t sound all that exciting, but having seen the show now, I would have to say it’s the best of the touring shows so far.
They did a great job with weaving the insect theme through the show. It made a lot of sense and I got it which wasn’t always the case with some of the other shows. What I really noticed about the show was that they had quite a few acts that looked distinctly like something taken out of the Chinese acrobatic shows I saw in Beijing and Shanghai. For example, there was a juggling act where the performer (who happened to be Asian) was swinging these giant yo yo things on a string. In spite of the fact that I had seen something similar before (in a Chinese acrobat show), and it wasn’t a really that ground-breaking of a performance, I actually thought he was really good and liked his routine a lot. In fact, for a lot of the acts, I really felt like they did an even more amazing job than they usually do at taking some traditional acts and performers to the very next level, stretching their abilities and talents to continue to amaze audiences, particularly those that have been to many, many shows.
Having just seen the show, I’m doing a first and writing my entry just afterwards so that everything is still fresh in my mind. I had quite a few acts which I really liked. One being the group of six little Asian girls who were dressed up like ants and did some amazing juggling of giant kiwis, corns and each other, all with their little feet. You couldn’t help but be wowed when the first set of girls, while holding the second set of girls on top of the feet, would toss the second set of girls around down the line while the second set of girls continued spinning things on their feet. It probably sounds confusing in words, but it was definitely something worth seeing. Another favorite act was the one based on a trampoline, but in this instance, the performers were grasshoppers and they used this wall off of which they jumped and bounced. It was cool, because they made it look so effortless. They would look like they clumsily falling off the wall and just bounce right back onto the wall, almost as if you just pushed the rewind button on your DVR. It was really very cool.
The costumes, music and vibe were very energetic and festive. The costumes were very bright and contrasting so they captured your attention. Admittedly, the only ones that I could recognize were the grasshoppers and the ladybug since they looked more obvious. The other ones just looked a little weird but colorful, nonetheless. The music like all other Cirque shows has a mumbo jumbo for lyrics… but the sounds itself was actually very catchy… and even had a Brazilian samba type of beat. You couldn’t help but smile and feel happy though.
I really enjoyed the show, and I’m amazed how Cirque can continually wow audiences and keep them hugely entertained. Cirque’s signature mark and really what defines their quality of entertainment is how they manage to take every feat and make it look so profoundly easy. That is true, true talent and something you know you will always find with any of their shows.
Pictures taken from Cirque du Soleil website.