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Ovo

Submitted by Commandrea on March 10, 2011 – 12:16 amNo Comment
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If the acrobatics of the recent Acro-Cats show left you wanting more the Cirque du Soleil production of Ovo will leave you breathless. Cirque du Soleil has put up their tent at the Sam Houston Race Track on Beltway 8 just a couple of miles east of highway 290. It’s worth the drive and it’s worthy of your time.

Ovo takes place in the world of insects. All the performers have costumes that recall bugs of different kinds. The thing is that the various outfits they wear aren’t so much accurate as they’re fantasy; a suggestion of body joints and antenna sprout out of a collision of wonderful colors and textures. The first half of the show acquaints the audience with the different characters. At one point a bunch of Asian women performers dressed primarily in red bounce large round slices of fruit (again a fantasy prop) on their feet in ways that are astounding and funny at the same time. There’s a master of ceremony only he talks in grunts and sounds. There’s a large woman who reminds one of a Disney cartoon character. Some of the performers wander in and out of the audience as if to keep everyone on their toes. A pair of performers swings on a single rope over everyone’s head doing some simply astounding gymnastic twists and turns. Another lady must be double jointed because she contorted herself in a manner not even possible for a black belt yoga expert.

There’s not a bad seat in the audience of approximately 2600. While my seat was front row I realized that once the trapeze act started I would’ve had a better view of the spectacle of the event, and less strain on my neck, if I’d been seated in the back of the stadium style rows. The merchandise at the concessions was expensive but unique.

One thing that signifies the difference between the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil shows and the roadshows is the fact that in Vegas the stages (individually built at a cost of millions) are themselves characters in the show. For the second act the stage under the tent became such a character. The second half opens with the stage dressed like a huge spider web. Before you know it, the web has dissolved during a blackout and a large rock wall appears at the back of the space. Then your attention focuses on a lengthy display of high wire agility when one of the insects begins doing stunts on a drooping (yet taunt) line. But that’s just the beginning. Then he stands upside down seemingly defying gravity only to best that by driving a unicycle across while the wire is being raised higher and higher.

Not to be outdone, parts of the stage then roll back and the performers utilize a hidden system of trampolines and show off some of Ovo’s best stunts. At the far end of the stage the performers seem to disappear into the floor only to bounce back all the way to the top of the wall. During the finale, literally thousands of tiny paper and mylar butterflies flutter from above to the floor.

The beers started at $7.50 with wine a little more; the bathrooms were plentiful with no long lines; and the parking ($10) was painless, taking less than five minutes to exit despite the full crowd.

- Michael Bergeron

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