Onstage: Cirque du Soleil presents OVO

When a performing arts organization achieves iconic status, it seems almost silly to attend a performance with the idea of writing a "review." The whole premise of Cirque du Soleil — and each of its two dozen or so productions, including 'OVO,' currently

When a performing arts organization achieves iconic status, it seems almost silly to attend a performance with the idea of writing a “review.” The whole premise of Cirque du Soleil — and each of its two dozen or so productions, including OVO, currently being presented at Old Coney, east of Cincinnati — is to offer flawless, dazzling and inventive entertainment. That’s what I’ve seen with each Cirque show I’ve experienced, and there was no disappointment with OVO, which I finally got to see on May 5, after almost two weeks of delay due to the swollen Ohio River which flooded some of the area where the tents and parking have been placed.

My first impression was that OVO’s concept — an ecosystem teaming with insects — was a little creepy. But the theme has more to do with the vibrancy and vitality of life than with “bugs,” and in fact the concept adds a visual dimension that seems to be endlessly creative — grasshoppers, ladybugs, butterflies, ants and so on. Cirque shows are known for their ornate and inventive costumes, and OVO has provide a remarkable palette for such creativity. The stage is further enhanced by two immense flowers that pivot into the performance space from the right and left and then unfold in floral glory.

“Ovo” is the Portuguese word for “egg,” and the evening opens with an immense egg consuming most of the stage under the “grand chapiteau” (that’s Cirque’s term for its “Big Top” tent, one of several structures — with a colorful yellow and blue exterior — that gets erected on the performance site). As the show begins, it’s replaced by several versions that are more portable, one that’s small and glowing and another that gets carted around on a strong performer’s back. The egg is an object of curiosity for all the players, perhaps signifying the cycles of their lives.

OVO continues at Old Coney through May 15. Go here for Rick Pender's full review.

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