Cirque show dazzles

It’s ironic that while Guy Laliberté is seeking glory in space, thecompany he founded, Cirque du Soleil, should find it underground.

It’s ironic that while Guy Laliberté is seeking glory in space, the company he founded, Cirque du Soleil, should find it underground.

Ovo, the latest touring show from the unstoppable Quebecois company, opened in Toronto Wednesday night and turned an exploration of the insect world into an eye-popping, breathtaking, heart-stopping entertainment delight.

Despite their similarities, each Cirque show manages to be different and Ovo is no exception. With choreographer Deborah Colker in firm control of her vision, this show moves with a dance-like precision unlike any other Cirque production.

Scene melts into scene invisibly, special effects spring up before we notice their preparation and magical pieces of gymnastic activity dazzle us and are gone before we have a chance to catch our breath.

There isn’t much of a plot except the courtship of a ladybug who looks like Queen Latifah with the measles, pursued by a fly who is the thinnest, bluest creature you’ve ever seen.

But somehow, that’s enough. Colker lets her insects stand for all of humanity and we get to experience most of the driving human emotions in her carefully calibrated sequences of movement, acrobatics and dance.

A gossamer cocoon becomes two artists who partner in a pas de deux that manages to combine sensuality and spectacle at once, embracing while performing death-defying feats. An adorable troupe of ants juggle with their feet and win our hearts, but come back later in the evening with slyly knowing smiles that let us realize they’re not as innocent as they seem.

Instead of the typical Cirque show, where the acts can seem tacked on to a story involving an overabundance of characters, Colker makes it all work toward a central vision. Everyone is involved with every scene of the show. The star of one sequence becomes the background watcher in the next. It’s a wonderfully unifying device.

Audiences will be taken by the more flamboyant sequences, including an Act I ending where a chorus of beetles takes to the skies and an Act II finale that involves trampolines, a rock-climbing wall and a dozen creatures who all look like the Green Power Ranger.

Whether you come to Ovo for the big effects, or the more miniature moments of magic — the amazing look of the costumes, the awesome sunshine and shade of the lighting and the haunting Brazilian music — you will find plenty to delight you in this joyous new show.

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