BWW Review: Cirque Du Soleil's OVO, at U.S. Bank Arena, Delights Cincinnati with Whimsy and Astonishing Acrobatics
Cirque du Soleil has a reputation for whimsy and for astonishing feats of acrobatics. Its latest touring show, Ovo, which plays at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena through Sunday night, delivers on both counts. Before the show even begins, the theme is apparent: A giant egg (the meaning of "ovo" in Portuguese) rests in the middle of the stage, and several performers elaborately costumed as insects work the audience. The audience feels like ants in a microscopic world, watching these bugs bounce and climb and soar through the air.
Interspersed between the acrobatics-which truly made the audience gasp; I myself uttered the word "What?!" aloud a couple of times-were the clowns, speaking their own nonsensical insect language and performing an elaborate, but appropriately silly, mating ritual between a ladybug and a fly. The clowning isn't really my cup of tea, but the audience was entertained, and they distracted from the many set changes to accommodate the different styles of performers: rope-walkers, trampoline artists, tumblers, contortionists, and more.
Standout performers included the moths, a man and a woman who swung from suspended ropes, exhibiting great strength, grace, and trust in one another. (Kudos must be given to the riggers who operate the acrobatic equipment. They are the artists behind the scenes, and it is clear that the performers are willing to trust them with their lives.) The grasshoppers, who bounced from trampolines to great heights, all while utilizing a climbing wall and executing tumbling runs, also impressed with their energy and daredevil dives.
Atmospheric music underlies the entirety of the show, with occasional showcases for a violinist, a percussionist, and a cockroach (I think) vocal soloist. The music sets the mood of the show, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats during the acrobatic portions and settling back into fanciful strains for the clowns. Projections on a huge wall also remind us that we are shrunk to the size of insects. Brightly colored images such as blades of grass and dew drops shimmer behind the performers.
The theme runs seamlessly throughout the show, and it is a natural one to have chosen: Just watch an ant crawl vertically up a wall or a spider spin its web, and you'll see gymnastics in miniature. The atmosphere at U.S. Bank Arena adds to the fun with plenty of concessions and great views from every seat!
Cirque du Soleil's Ovo is playing at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St.Saturday, May 13th - 4:00pm and 7:30pm and Sunday, May 14th - 1:30pm and 5:00pm
For tickets and more information on Ovo go here.
PHOTO CREDIT: High Kicking Ants. Photo by Adam Smith