What is most astounding about any Cirque du Soleil show is the sheer ambition and whimsical curiosity about what the human body might accomplish. In Ovo, the latest under the big top at the Entertainment Quarter, body-based miracles outshine the mechanical acts, but not by much. The Ovo is a giant egg that a host of insects covet, hide and argue about. Its importance never becomes clear, and early appearances of creepy bugs (a towering angry character on stilts; a grotesque even taller muddy bug) are never revisited. Cirque balances a line between gorgeous spectacle and the possibility of the grotesque. It always stays on the safe side, which is fine, but some might have wanted to see more insect-on-insect devouring.
The “antsy ants” challenge what is impossible: nothing daredevil, but stunningly complex synchronicity made to look simply beautiful, and strangely touching in its reach. Much is made of the trapeze acts but the core of Ovo lies in the wonders perpetuated by these crazy-trained, body-oriented performers. In Cirque tradition, the clowns don’t speak; rather than drone with zing, and in this buggy spectacle the curvy Ladybug, the skinny Mosquito and the ringmaster Shiny Something zring, hring and phlat empathically. This might not be Cirque’s best show, but like its best, it is full of a special kind of humour and beauty that only Soleil provides.
Until Nov 4, Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Rd, Moore Park, $74-275, cirquedusoleil.com