Cirque du Soleil "Ovo" - Japanese promotional poster
Everyone should see a Cirque du Soleil performance at least once in their life. I can hardly touch my toes but watching professional acrobats in action is breathtaking. Not to mention the gorgeous costumes and beautiful music. I never got to see the permanent Tokyo show "Zed" before it closed in 2011, but the company tours Japan often so I have been to a couple of other performances.
"Ovo" is nearing the end of its Tokyo run before it travels the rest of the country. I saw it last weekend on a rainy Saturday, while the rest of Odaiba was filled with teenage girls waiting to meet a B-level Korean idol group. The theme of Ovo is the movement of insects and the cast have perfected their every gesture, never breaking character.
A fancy promotional car because Japan
It wasn't a sell-out show, but it was very full. I stumped up the cash for the best seats available, but even they were hard to get for any day in June. I assume the show has been popular but with the impending departure from Tokyo, there seems to be a mad rush to get tickets.
This little bug thought that he was part of the show
My first impression was one of surprise. The circus tent in Sendai had seemed a lot bigger but, with the Giant Gundam and Statue of Liberty just casually hanging about nearby, maybe everything looks smaller in Odaiba. Certainly the waiting audience seemed impressed enough by the promotional car and plethora of insect-themed goods available inside.
Personally, I was impressed that the snack stall sold reasonably-priced cans of lemon chu-hai. Nice one.
An ocean of people queuing to buy merchandise
The final countdown (not really)
Obviously they were really strict about photos/videos during the show, so you'll have to take my word that it was excellent. I managed to sneak this shot of the stage during the interval. Ironically, I got scolded by security just afterwards for trying to take a mere selca. Oh well.
Sneaky picture of the stage at the opening of the second half
Compared to their previous show "Corteo", I found "Ovo" to be a little bit less spectacular. But I suppose the novelty had worn off. Another point in Corteo's favour was the carnival theme, which appealed to me a lot more than insects. It also seemed more floor-based this time. The most thrilling part was the trapeze section, not least because the first acrobat actually missed his partner and crashed to the net below. Part of me wonders if it was done deliberately to raise tension for the rest of the act, but his face looked pretty pissed off behind the beetle-paint, so maybe not.
Another aspect that I loved was the particularly French-style comedy that was employed through-out. It's a farcical style that acted as a wonderful counterbalance to the elegant acrobats. If you're not familiar with French comedy, KMKYWw Alan Partridge did a good riff on it:
After the show we tried the insect- themed photo booth. Seeing as how the pictures were free and (you may have noticed) heavily advertised on, they MAY HAVE been a cunning publicity stunt... But this is the kind that suits me (side-eyeing YouTube ads...).
Purikura-style picture from the free photo booth
We spent the evening in Odaiba, where we stumbled upon a classic car exhibition. It wasn't my cup of tea but I loved this picture of Japanese men bowing at a car. All hail our new automotive overlords.
Japanese people bowing at a car (again, because Japan)
That was followed by playtime at the largest Lego shop that I've ever seen. Men can't seem to help themselves, they always have to build the tallest tower possible. A psychoanalyst would have a field day in a Lego shop. I just built a gun to attack the tower (not sure what that says about me!).
Gun vs Tower at the Odaiba Lego shop
Final random photo is this gorgeous vintage-looking coffee machine that was randomly located in the J. Ferry outlet store. They also had free soft drinks and a diner-style counter to relax at. You don't even have to buy anything! Thank you Japan!
Free coffee at J. Ferry Odaiba
We finished the evening with a romantic dinner at Bill's Odaiba but that, my friends, is a story for another blog. Cirque du Soleil is running in Tokyo til the end of June, make sure you don't miss it!