By Mike Muffler
The Cirque du Soleil OVO, a show inspired by the insect ecosystem, has “infested” the Schottenstein Center with color, energy, and talent with seven stunning performances May 17-21. The show was created in 2009, and it is easy to understand why it took seven years to put together when considering every element of the show. The video wall, which sets every scene is like a magnifying glass over the most theatrical bugs. The OVO show has grown into a full blown production with such concentrated detail only an insect would be able to see it all. Luckily for the humans in the audience, there are seven performances to capture the biodiversity within the insect universe of OVO that the Cirque du Soleil cast have truly brought to life.
The elaborate show is so well thought out including multiple insects in every scene as each character shows off their unique talent to their society while engaging with the audience. My favorite part of OVO was the hilarious scene when order-maintaining, Master Flipo, teaches the Foreigner— a fly from a faraway land— how to treat a Ladybug. To do so Master Flipo called upon the assistance of a member from the audience onto stage dressing her as the sassy Ladybug with her iconic antenna-headpiece and flower-wand. The interactions between the characters and the audience member made the scene humorous and impactful.
The love interest between the mischievous Foreign Fly and The Ladybug was only one aspect of OVO that kept the audience invested. The captivating culture of the bugs was like a blend of The Looney Toons and The Lion King: The Musical. Every character displayed mannerisms that reflected anatomical movements of the insects they were playing while adding theatrical animation which at times was explosive, exotic, and even romantic. The colorful and flawlessly constructed costumes transformed the cast members on stilts and scarfs into towering stick bugs and confident spiders. The cast was full of pure talent absorbing everyone into the OVO ecosystem. I imagine everyone left thinking they could speak bug.
The beautiful show of Cirque du Soleil OVO embraces the many artistic inspirations of insects and brings them to life. Each act reflected its insect so well from the contortionist playing the female spider to the acro-trio fleas, the butterflies on the aerial straps, and the dragonfly balancing on a spiral structure by his hands representing a vine covered in morning dew. Each performance was unpredictable and jaw-dropping holding me on the edge of my seat with exhilaration.
The show was not only full of extremely athletic movements, but it was also inspirationally emotional. The metamorphosis of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon was magically performed by an artist climbing silk that sprouted into liberating wings allowing her to fly around stage to chimes and violins. The firefly lit up the stage with his diabolos act juggling and tossing up to four spools showing what the insect night life is like.
The cockroach community constructed the pivotal role of the live band which captivated the audience and tied together every element of the show. The creators of the Cirque du Soleil OVO showed no discrimination to any insect highlighting the beauty of each creature— even the cockroaches. Trust in the colorful ecosystem was signified by the bright gold scarabs with their aerial cradle act where they tossed each other from platform to platform while performing rapid flips. The crickets topped off the show by demonstrating their jumping talent with vertical leaps up and down the video wall using a trampoline to launch them out of the grass while twisting and turning.
The poetic energy of the Cirque du Soleil OVO can only truly be understood by seeing it in person. The fantastic formation of the show is teeming with life and entertainment in effortless amazement. You’re not going to want to miss out on seeing one of the seven OVO performances at the Schottenstein Center May 17-21.
For Ticket Information and Show Times, go to SchottensteinCenter.com.
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