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Ovo, Cirque Du Soleil, Royal Albert Hall, review: ‘Full of what? how? moments’

PUBLISHED: 18:18 11 January 2018

Cirque du Soleil Ovo at The Royal Albert Hall

Cirque du Soleil Ovo at The Royal Albert Hall

Archant

Flexible fleas, amazing ants. and a trio of clownish insects, who spar, fall in love and play pranks on each other, and us

A giant egg grabs your gaze at the opening of Cirque du Soleil’s latest eye-popping residency at the Albert Hall, while insects twang back and forth on bendy reeds.

Over the next two hours, busy bugs tote a smaller ovum around the circular stage – you wonder when the shell will crack to reveal an impossibly bendy acrobat? Disappointingly it never does, but that’s the sole dampener of this UK premiere, which jettisons the cirque’s usual high-concept story arc to focus on pure skill and beautiful visuals, aided by Liz Vandal’s remarkably detailed insect costumes.

Even Berna Ceppas’ score, which samples insect sounds and fuses them with drumbeats is more integrated into the atmosphere of this big top meets A Bug’s Life - with bells on.

Teeming with biodiverse life, this patch of earth includes flexible fleas, amazing ants. and a trio of clownish insects, who spar, fall in love and play pranks on each other, and us.

As ever, the world-beating acts are a blend of the quietly intense and energetically explosive. A duo of butterflies on straps court death in their aerial ballet, now entwining, now connected by a single gripped ankle, it will make you catch your breath.

The troupe of Russian scarab beetles on trapezes, who flip and catch their women like so many glittering pancakes 50-feet up is also a heart-in-mouth watch.

Then there are the What? How? moments: a spider on a slackwire who somehow, improbably does a headstand on a unicycle balancing on a wire - then twirls the pedals with his hands. Or the graceful arachnid contortionist who bends back on herself while holding her entire bodyweight in her jaws. My usually fidgety son sat like a rock with eyes like saucers, and by the time the colony of crickets perform spectacular tumbles and gravity, prespective-defying trampoline leaps up a climbing wall, you’ll be convinced that Ovo is not a mid-sized gas and electricity supplier, but a thrilling force of nature and a (egg) cracking night out.

Until March 4.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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