“Ovo,” the latest offering from Cirque du Soleil to come to the Bay Area, features everything for which the brand is known: clever and imaginative theatrics, stylishly executed, heart-stopping stunts, eye-popping costumes and scenery, and a seemingly provocative storyline that’s open to interpretation.
General audiences, who through the years have seen more than a few of the 20-plus productions presented by the Montreal-based giant, will call this “the one with the bugs.”
The most fascinating insects are the incredible artists performing amazing physical feats, each more thrilling than the next.
Hand-balancer Vladimir Hrynchenko, as the dragonfly, hoists his body horizontally. Petite Chinese jugglers — adorable ants — use their feet to toss big props that look like pieces of kiwi and corn on
Maxim Kozlov and Inna Mayorova are sleek butterflies who perform breathtaking dancing duets on a rope.
The firefly, Ryo Yabe, uses a rope to juggle four spinning spools, flinging them high in the air, in a stunt called diabolo.
A headless creature in a costume reminiscent of a Slinky, and based on an idea from the pantomime troupe Mummenschanz, bounces around joyously.
Closing the first act is an exciting, one-of-a-kind trapeze and aerial act boasting a dozen macho scarabs swinging, throwing and catching each other with force and elegance.
Rounding out the show in the second act are contortionist spiders, acrobatic fleas, a spider-man on a slack wire and super thrilling crickets. These dozen artists simultaneously bounce on a trampoline and scale a tall wall; the mind-blowing discipline also seen in the Cirque production “Ka” in Las Vegas is a show-stopper.
The musicians — cockroaches — play a lively mix of styles, slightly favoring a party and bossa nova sound perhaps associated with composer Berna Ceppas and director Deborah Colker’s Brazilian background.
As for “ovo,” it indeed is a big egg, whose possession provides a thread of a story involving the show’s clowns: the lady bug (Michelle Matlock), Flipo (Joseph Collard) and the foreigner (Francois-Guillaume Leblanc).
They’re not stunningly funny, and the plot doesn’t play out in a satisfying way, but that doesn’t get in the way of the rest of the invigorating entertainment on display in “Ovo.”
Where: Big Top near AT&T Park, Third Street and Terry A. Francois Boulevard, San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 4 and 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 1 and 5 p.m. Sundays; closes Jan. 24
Tickets: $42 to $250
Contact: (800) 450-1480, www.cirquedusoleil.com
Note: The show moves to San Jose’s Taylor Street Bridge on Feb. 4.