Theatre / Review

Cirque du Soleil: Ovo premieres at Royal Albert Hall

The show has reached the UK for the first time, and prepares to tour later this year.

Wednesday 10 January 2018 saw the official UK premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, diving into the secret world of bugs and insects for a mesmerising performance. Reimagining the traditional circus, Cirque seamlessly blends together narrative, comedy and jaw-dropping acrobatic skill to deliver an unrivalled experience.

OVO, centered around the arrival of a strange bug bearing an egg (ultimately treated as a godlike relic) into an established ecosystem, effortlessly transport audiences into its natural world. Accompanying highly skilled displays of tightrope walking, areal acrobatics, trampolining, tumbling and much more, the music and stunning visuals transform the Royal Albert Hall into a natural wonderland.

The performers, from the incredibly talented acrobats, gymnasts and jugglers to the live musicians and entertainers, craft fully rounded characters. At times interacting with the enthralled audience, they offer far more than just the unimaginable feats on stage. Yet it is the acrobatics that thrill most, each defying what should be physically possible.

Foot jugglers balance their fellow performers whilst spinning notably weighty fruits. A lizard-like creature (the costumes are perfectly vibrant) folds himself around a swirling apparatus. A pair of butterflies swing high above the audience, held up only by a loose rope. It’s not unusual to see the occasional flinch by an audience member as the performers switch position midair with nothing to protect their fall. But falling seems impossible, as the performers become one with both the equipment and the scenery.

Tonight, singer Alexandra Burke finds herself involved in the action as she is pulled out of the audience by a particularly colourful bug during a comedy skit at the London premiere. Although initially hesitant, it doesn’t take long for her to immerse herself in the on-stage magic, complete with a beaming smile across her face. Just days after her engagement to long-term partner Josh Ginnelly, she finds herself wielding a giant flyswatter dressed in a beetle costume.

It’s indicative of the humour Cirque du Soleil inject into their performances, the show carefully balancing the fun and the awe-inspiring. As has become custom for those attending a show, the sheer incredible work of the performers leaves many questioning their own personal achievements. As the acrobats and gymnasts fall from dizzying heights, swing high above the crowd, and offer incredible juggling feats, there are countless whispers of sheer disbelief.

Combined with the beautiful atmosphere, perfectly capturing the beauty and drama of the natural world, Cirque du Soleil’s OVO delivers an evening of spectacular escapism.

Shortly before the UK premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, we met up with the cast and creatives at the Royal Albert Hall. Watch us go behind the scenes below:

 

Tickets for Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, now running at London’s Royal Albert Hall and touring the UK later in the year, are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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