An elegant egg-stravaganza 

“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
the cob.

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.”

lkatz@sfexaminer.com

 

THEATER REVIEW

Cirque du Soleil: 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.

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Leslie Katz

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