REVIEW: Cirque du Soleil OVO – SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow

Originating in Montreal in 2009, and created to celebrate Cirque du Soleil’s 25th anniversary, OVO is making its way around the country on its debut UK tour. Billed as: “a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion. OVO is overflowing with contrasts. The hidden, secret world at our feet is revealed as tender and torrid, noisy and quiet, peaceful and chaotic. And as the sun rises on a bright new day the vibrant cycle of insect life begins anew.”

While many of Cirque du Soleil’s themes seem either esoteric or downright baffling, OVO’s insect inspiration seems a match made in heaven for these otherworldly performers. Opening on a colony of foot balancing red ants, the dexterity with which the act manipulates the ‘kiwi fruits’ and ‘sweetcorn’ is mind-boggling.

A plethora of creepy creatures follow, the most stunning of which is the throbbing colony of shimmering beetles that pulsate into life above the auditorium, giving way to the most awe-inspiring, herculean show of strength on the Russian Cradle, their split second timing is heart-stopping.

Impressive too are the unicycling Slack Wire artist, the Diabolo act who manages to keep four illuminated diabolos in constant motion, never missing a beat and the final act, with a dozen acro-athletes trampolining, tumbling and scaling a vast wall in the arena, seeming to defy gravity.

While undoubtedly talented, some acts don’t leave as lasting an impression, the Cocoon aerial silk act, the Slinky-like Creatura and the Acro Trio are skilled performers but lack that certain sparkle that marks the truly memorable and while the ‘clowning’ seems to be less in this production there’s still too much slapstick filler that takes up a lot of time but with little pay-off.

OVO is truly awe-inspiring, a mesmeric showcase of what the human body is capable of. Another must-see from Cirque du Soleil.

Runs at the SEE Hydro Glasgow until Saturday 9 September 2018.