We took Elliot to Ovo by Cirque du Soleil over the weekend. It was a spendy experience that ended up being totally worth it for our little acrobat-in-training.

Before I review, I should point out that Elliot (4.5 years old) is determined to be an acrobat when she grows up. She’s always showing us her death-defying “tricks” at the playground and balancing on the back of the couch, aka her tightrope. She has been to the circus three times: it’s a big annual event for our family that always happens to fall near her birthday.

Still – we were a little nervous about stepping things up a notch with Cirque du Soleil. Jason and I have seen 5-6 shows over the years and we know that the costumes range from silly to creepy to downright nightmarish. We had heard good things about kids at Ovo, so Jason bought us some tickets and we crossed our fingers.

THE STORY

Ovo is a traveling production that is set in the world of insects. The acrobats and clowns are all dressed up as varieties of bugs such as butterflies, dragonflies, ants, grasshoppers, cockroaches, spiders, crickets, and one giant ladybug. The story is simple, as is the norm with Cirque. A new bug rolls into town with a giant egg on his back and all the other bugs want the egg. The new guy gets a little sidetracked when he becomes smitten with the ladybug. He spends the show either pursuing the ladybug or looking for his egg. If you haven’t seen a Cirque show, you should know that there is no discernible dialogue. The characters speak in squeaks and gurgles, except for one word: Ovo (it means “egg” in Portuguese).

Photo by Ed Schipul

Photo by Ed Schipul

THE ACROBATIC ACTS

The acrobatic acts are typical for Cirque, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive. While Jason and I were blow away by the strength and agility of the performers who bent and balanced their bodies, Elliot was most thrilled by the acts that flew in the air – the trapeze and the aerial fabric. The real show stopper is at the end when the stage opens up to reveal trampolines. Acrobats dressed as crickets bounced and flipped – and most exciting of all, they defied gravity by walking up and down the climbing wall that serves as the backdrop for the entire production.

THE OUTCOME

Elliot was captivated by the entire performance. She was never bored but she was also never overwhelmed. This particular show seems to be created with a very young audience in mind. There were young children seated near us who were stunned into silence during the entire show (Elliot is not so much a silent observer as she is an excited announcer of every activity happening on stage).

Sadly, Ovo is wrapping up its United States tour here in Portland. But if you’re in Australia, where Ovo will be touring for the next year, definitely take the whole family. Keep it on your radar as a family-friendly treat that is bound to resurface in the USA.

 

*One Note: Never pay full price for Cirque tickets. I spotted lots of deals from various local websites, in local family magazines and on sites such as TravelZoo. Our tickets were 40% off and we had great seats.

 

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