Cirque du Soleil OVO alternates between amazing and absurd | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Cirque du Soleil OVO alternates between amazing and absurd

click to enlarge Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25 - CP PHOTO: MIKE PAPARIELLA
CP photo: Mike Papariella
Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25
Cirque du Soleil OVO and its fleet of multicolored insects landed in Pittsburgh this weekend, with multiple shows at PPG Paints Arena through Sun., Jan. 26. This production from the Montreal touring circus company takes viewers into the world of bugs and their fascination with a found egg ("ovo" means "egg" in Portuguese).

After seeing three different runs of Cirque du Soleil in the last three years, hands down "OVO" is the best Cirque show I've seen to date.
click to enlarge Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25 - CP PHOTO: MIKE PAPARIELLA
CP photo: Mike Papariella
Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25
Cirque du Soleil premiered in 2009, but it wasn't until 2018 that I first enjoyed one of its productions. It was "Volta," inspired by urban landscapes and atmospheres, which follows a game show contestant who's lost touch with himself. The next year I saw "Amaluna," a show honoring femininity, where viewers watch as the main character blooms into womanhood. Both tell a story from beginning to end, but "OVO" allowed for Cirque du Soleil to put on a show without the restraints of a storyline, putting movement and assessment at the forefront.
click to enlarge Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25 - CP PHOTO: MIKE PAPARIELLA
CP photo: Mike Papariella
Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25
Insects, unlike humans, have very basics needs and fly, or crawl, through life seemingly without much thought. Besides the focus on a found egg, "OVO" moves from one thing to another with no real direction. Yet, this isn't a bad thing. It means that the actors, acrobats, contortionists, etc., are free to show off their skills with no restrictions. Paired with its nature backdrop, "OVO" is breathtaking in a way that feels organic and natural.
click to enlarge Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25 - CP PHOTO: MIKE PAPARIELLA
CP photo: Mike Papariella
Cirque du Soleil OVO at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Jan. 25
Synchronized pink bugs use their feet to spin and balance fruit. Silky spiders bend in painful-looking ways. A dragonfly perches and balances on a long stalk. But words can't describe how beautiful and astonishing their performances really are; it's an act that's best enjoyed live.

These out-of-this-world moments are juxtaposed with bits of acting (and sounds like Simlish, the dialect of the fictional game, The Sims) which causes the audience to laugh and participate. At one point, a woman was brought on stage for an almost embarrassingly long segment including dancing and butt-smacking.


Whether you've seen Cirque du Soleil before, or are considering "OVO" as your first experience, it stands out from the rest.

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