Review: Cirque Du Soleil – OVO Dazzles Once Again
I'll come out and say it. I'm a Cirque du Soleil junkie. I've been to four shows now, two in Vegas, and a couple at the Grand Chapiteau set up on the United Center's Lot K parking lot. Each has been different from the last, while maintaining certain qualities that I have come to expect from the world-renowned circus created back in 1984 by two street performers in Montreal, Canada. OVO was written and directed by Deborah Colker, the first female to do both for a Cirque du Soleil production. Over 1.5 million fans have seen the show named for the Portuguese word for 'egg' since it debuted in 2009. And that's just what people see when they walk into the tent - a huge, illuminated egg. I have since read that the egg (seen many times throughout the show in a smaller size) was meant to signify the stages/cycles of life for the show's main characters, but to me it could have been left out entirely. Spoiler alert! It never hatched and the storyline behind it never came to fruition. I think the crowd was expecting something to pop out of it eventually, but it didn't matter when all was said and done. Why? Because the "insects", played by over 54 talented artists from over 16 countries didn't need that prop to flutter, frolic, fly, flip, and flirt their way into the audience's hearts. So, what did this self-proclaimed Cirque junkie think of the latest production to hit Chicago? From the moment I spotted the bright blue and yellow tent until after I stepped out from its dark, air-conditioned interior there was a perma-smile on my face. Although I will say there were some brief times (mostly in the beginning) where I hoped things would pick up a bit. Perhaps it had a bit of a slow start, but I think that was because some of the acts were very similar to past shows I had seen. However, those feelings faded fast and my friend (who was a first-timer) was utterly entranced from beginning to end. The costumes were amazing, the set was clever and ever-changing, and the live band/singers were truly talented. The recurring characters (usually clowns in past shows, but this time replaced by a plump ladybug, quirky mosquito, and clown-like beetle) and the storyline intertwined throughout the show were clear, cute, and approachable for all ages. But let's be honest. We're all there for the performers. The trapeze artists, contortionists, and other acts that amaze, excite, and take your breath away. If you can pedal your unicycle with your hands upside down on a slack wire while wearing fuzzy spider attire, you've got my full attention. Or if you can hang from a rope while performing an aerial pas de deux with nothing but a hard stage floor below you, you deserve nothing but respect. I don't want to give too much away because part of the fun of Cirque is seeing everything unfold before your eyes, but the folks at OVO saved the best for last. The finale was awesome. Not that you would want to leave, but make sure you stay until the end. It's second only to the finale of 'O' in Vegas...and a very close second at that.