OVO / CIRQUE DU SOLEIL | London, Royal Albert Hall

Cirque du Soleil are renowned worldwide as the greatest circus on earth. In their latest two-month residency at the Royal Albert Hall, they continue to live up to their platinum brand. OVO showcases some of the greatest acrobatic talent in the world, touring the world since the show was hatched in Montreal in 2009, so the opportunity to finally see it in London is a sort of kill-for-a-ticket scenario.

The finale is one of the most astonishing and unusual circus acts you will ever see: a dozen crickets leaping up walls and backflipping right across the stage in the manner of a rolling ball. A firefly sends multiple diablos nearly bouncing off the roof of the Royal Albert Hall, as he performs the splits. A chorus of red ants twirling massive kiwi slices with their feet, in perfect synchronicity, is both jawdropping and delightfully absurd.

The “clown” sections, focused around a derpy blue fly and his romantic quest to woo a sassy ladybug, are extremely childish and quite repetitive: bottom-slapping and silly noises abound. Highly enjoyable physical comedy for young children, but less so for the middle-aged adults that make up the vast majority of the audience.

OVO promises a “non-stop riot of energy and movement”, but this does not really do the show justice. Gently thrumming, Brazilian-influenced music (performed live by seven cockroaches) with tropical, subtle lighting, accompanying effortless, balletic choreography, actually demands high engagement on the part of the audience to realise the utter insanity of the feats before their eyes: the aim is beauty and control, not tacky applause cues. Go, let your eyes and mind explode with wonder for two hours, and take a child with you.

OVO nests at the Royal Albert Hall until 4 March 2018.

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