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The Royal Albert Hall is swarming with insects – but they’re human sized, gorgeously clad and doing extraordinary things with their bodies - yes, Cirque du Soleil is back for what has become an annual event.

Ovo (which premiered back in 2009 but is new to London) has an invertebrate theme and boasts the shimmering costumes and supremely skilful acrobatics one has come to expect from this giant Canadian company, but the clowns (including a tubby ladybug and a bothersome spiky fly) are still given far too much prominence – the 6 year old sitting behind me loved them, the adults, myself included, failed for the most part to find them funny.

But you don’t buy a ticket for this show for a laugh. It’s the international acrobats we’re there to see and there are some stunners.  From China, there’s a black male spider (Jiangming Qiu) doing wondrous things on a unicycle balanced on a slack highwire,  as well as a team of red ants foot-juggling outsize slices of kiwi fruit, corn cobs – and themselves, too. A couple of Canadian butterflies swoop elegantly through the air, and a troupe of glittering scarabs fling each other across the stage high in the air. Perky green crickets bring the evening to an exuberant close trampolining up an 8 metre high wall. 

credit: OVO: Cirque du Soleil

Top of my list, though, are two extraordinary contortionists - a hand-balancing dragon fly (American Kyle Cragle) and a seemingly spineless white spider (Ariunsanaa Bataa) - both of whom leave you wondering whether they were put together the same way as you and me

And a special mention for the “Creatura” – a cross between a giant Slinky and a waving caterpillar – which adds an endearing note to this slick, well-packaged extravaganza.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP

tube: South Kensington

till 4th March 

See website for ticket prices


Theatre Review: OVO - Cirque du Soleil
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