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Roaches, Fleas, and Spiders...Oh My!

Ants (Foot juggler & #2BD50In a busy season for Cirque du Soleil shows in L.A. and vicinity, the tireless Quebec troupe’s 2009 opus “Ovo” (Portuguese for “egg”) has made its local debut at Santa Monica Pier, while the company’s film-world extravaganza “Iris” continues at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre (on hiatus until after the Oscars), and “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour” will soon be in town for two separate engagements.

If you can pardon the pun, this imaginative and fun-filled offering—clearly geared as a family attraction—might only “bug” those with an aversion for insects. Yet the exotic ecosystem so dazzlingly created by Liz Vandel’s costumes, Gringo Cardia’s set and props, and Eric Champoux’s lighting—under the inspired creative vision of writer-director-choreographer Deborah Colker—provides  an irresistible showcase for Cirque’s miraculously multi-talented performers. The diverse array of acrobats, dancers, and comedians entertained a cheering opening-night crowd with two hours worth of energetic and mind-boggling feats.

SoCal Stages_blogThere are countless memorable segments. Red ants juggle huge pieces of kiwi with their feet, then switch to juggling each other. A flying act called the Scarabs Volant performs death-defying trapeze tricks. The magnificent finale, featuring artists bouncing off a trampoline, then running and leaping across an 8-meter vertical wall, is one you won’t soon forget. Berna Ceppa’s jaunty original music, performed by a large band of cockroaches, maintains an appropriate celebratory tone.

As entertainment feasts go, “Ovo” might be the tastiest omelet in town.

--Les Spindle

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