Monday, December 28, 2009

Cirque du Soleil - Ovo Review

Well, once again Cirque has put on a touring production, and once again after doing their hometown and Toronto they've come to the US, specifically to San Francisco. And once again I feel compelled to write a little review. But re-reading my review of Kooza from last time it's kind of the same in terms of which areas were strong and which were weak. Most of the actual acts are very good. A couple really give you that sense of wonder that makes the otherwise absurd ticket price worthwhile. The clowns aren't funny and drag on way, way too long. Additionally the whole pacing's a bit off - both weird slow sections (mostly clown related) and the first half ends rather abruptly. And there's no one crazy big apparatus like the Double Wheel of Death although there's a combination of trampolines and a wall that are pretty cool, and many of the simpler acts are incredibly well done.

The other problem they have is a bad case of not knowing where to look - there are often extra characters trying to be clever for no obvious reason and you look at them to figure out why they're there and you miss the main act doing something incredible. Grr.

The music was good, the costuming was excellent, the basic idea of "let's make everybody some kind of bug" was good but they were trying too hard to make a story out of it, relying on the lame clowns to advance the plot, such as it was. They could have chopped 5 minutes of clowns out of the first half, ten out of the second, and nobody would have felt shortchanged and it would really have kept the energy level up.

But as always, when they're good, they're just incredible and there were a number of wonderful moments. It's just that they need to keep the big picture stuff in mind - especially pacing.

Update: I thought the Chronicle review was unusually spot-on, although I liked the music.

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