When I saw Cirque do Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio last year, I remember thinking that this was as good as it gets. The show has 85 acrobats, synchronized swimmers and divers who are performing inside and above a living, breathing stage that includes a 1.5 million gallon pool. The stunts are breathtaking and the stage itself is just another world.
As I walked up the ramp to the large tent that hosted OVO, I remember thinking two things: First, that there wasn’t a chance that OVO would live up to my perception of what a Cirque show should be, based on my experience with ‘O,’ and secondly, that the tent sort of reminded me of the Big Apple Circus that I used to go watch in Glen Echo Park.
I couldn’t have been more wrong on both counts.
The performances in OVO (best described as breathtaking) rivaled those I witnessed at “O,” perhaps further amplified by contrast with the relatively more understated backdrop of the enormous tent that hosts the production. I was simply blown away by some of the feats in OVO and at one point while watching the tight-rope performer balance on one hand, upside down, on a rope that was panning up-and-down, wouldn’t have been surprised if he had simply begun floating in mid-air as it would have been in the same ballpark as some of the other acrobatics he was executing.
Two attributes clearly differentiated OVO from “O” in my mind. First, OVO is far more interactive than some of the other Cirque shows. The distance between performer and audience is intimate and the audience finds themselves far more drawn into the action on-stage. The show is also choreographed to be more interactive, with a great deal of audience-performer engagement.
Second, I have a feeling that OVO may actually be the most fun Cirque show I’ve seen. In contrast to “O,” where comedy serves to provide the audience with a break to catch their breath between dramatic performances, comedy in OVO is an intrinsic characteristic of the narrative fabric itself. The musical and dance performances are heavily influenced by both Samba and Bossa Nova (not surprising considering the show itself is created and directed by Brazilian dancer/choreographer Deborah Colker) and certain sets make you want to stand up and dance. In all, OVO might actually be the most family and child-friendly Cirque currently out there.
If you haven’t been yet, you should hurry up. It’s only running for a couple more weeks so book your tickets now.