Cirque du Soleil’s OVO


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OVO, the latest installment of Cirque du Soleil’s traveling art circus hits the United Center June 29 through August 21 and, as you’ve come to expect if you’ve seen any of the Cirque du Soleil productions, you’ll be captivated and delighted by an exciting performance. The show features all of the Cirque du Soleil hallmarks we longtime viewers have come to expect: amazing acrobats and contortionists, dazzling themed costumes, and oddball intergalactic clowns. You know what you’re getting into when you go see a Cirque du Soleil show — the troupe has created a signature niche for themselves and are smart to stick to the formula.

All of that being said, there were several members of our party who had never been to a Cirque du Soleil show before, and they were, without a doubt, one hundred percent blown away. We were six people total, three adults and three children under four years old. From the opening sequence featuring an enormous inflatable egg as big as a bus, hatching dozens of agile performers dressed as colorful insects, to the tickertape-explosion finale, they sat slack-jawed on the edge of their seats. It’s no small feat to keep small feet still for two hours.

Staying faithful to Cirque du Soleil aesthetics, the theme story of OVO is an esoteric chronicle told in oblique gestures. A male insect (Is it a tick? An ant?) arrives in a foreign colony of bugs with precious cargo, a beloved egg, strapped to his back. He falls in love with a sexy, sassy lady bug, has his egg stolen from him by the leader of the colony (Is it a slug? A beetle?), and is eventually accepted into the colony as well as the loving embrace of the ladybug. The kids loved the fantastic costumes and the puzzling story as relayed through choreographed contortions, stage slides, and imaginary insect speak.

The rest of us sat patiently delighted through these sequences, entertaining but familiar to longtime fans, waiting to get to the meat and potatoes of the renowned troupe: the acrobatic performances. And these were top notch. The performers included trapeze artists, rope climbers, jugglers, and a fantastic gang of female ants who bounced, twisted, spun, and lobbed enormous slices of kiwi, cobs of corn, and slices of eggplant, as well as each other, through the air — all with their feet! Two standout performances were among the best I’ve ever seen anywhere, ever: a loose-rope walker who, among other eye-popping tricks, balanced in a one-handed handstand, and a cadre of trampolining grasshoppers who used an adjoining wall to spectacular effect. These performances typify what makes Cirque du Soleil so great: there is a template the company has created for itself — quirky costumes and acrobatic artistry — but within that template, new themes are examined, artistry is tweaked, new approaches are applied to traditional forms, and every new show offers something to astound even longtime fans. At the end, the performers received, as should be expected, a standing OVO.

The Essentials
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.
Phone: 800.450.1480
Website: cirquedusoleil.com

Ticket Prices: Starting at $60 for adults and $42 for children.

Show Times:
Sundays at 1:00pm & 5:00pm
No performances on Mondays
Tuesdays at 8:00pm (no show 7/19 & 8/16)
Wednesdays at 8:00pm
Thursdays at 8:00pm (4:00pm show on 7/21)
Fridays at 4:00pm & 8:00pm
Saturdays at 4:00pm & 8:00pm

Purchase Tickets: Tickets are available to purchase by phone at 800.450.1480 or online at cirquedusoleil.com. Please note that booking fees are higher via the phone.

John Paris

About John Paris

Born in Cincinnati, raised in California, John has lived in a lot of great cities -- Montréal, San Francisco, Boston -- but now calls Chicago home sweet home, and has done so longer than anywhere else. Leaving the hills behind, he has found comfort in the flatness of one of the largest grids in the world. Neighborhoods divided into quadrants, divided into city blocks, divided into equal rectangular plots would seem to be a recipe for a grim, constricted civic culture. Not so, says John -- we Chicagoans are blessed by our situation. As inhabitants within the template of boulevards, and streets, and avenues, we dance on a perfect dance floor. The swirling, tumbling activity of circular pegs amused by square slots is the real creative genius of this fair city. Onward circular pegs!

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