I first heard of Cirque du Soleil when I was little. The circus was in town and I begged to go and while my mum did take me, she also highlighted the various animal cruelty issues that go along with a traditional circus and said the only good one to go to would, of course, be Cirque du Soleil.
So really Cirque du Soleil is something I’ve always wanted to see, but until I saw it, I didn’t realise it would be something bucket list worthy. In case you weren’t already aware Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo show is beginning its UK tour this year after a short residency in London’s Royal Albert Hall. The first stop on the tour is Liverpool (yasss) and I was lucky enough to be invited down to London to watch the show so I could see first hand what all the fuss is about.
I was absolutely blown away, it was spectacular. Ovo (Portuguese for egg) is a colourful journey into the world of insects making it the most family friendly show that Cirque du Soleil run. In an already established community of insects, a foreign fly turns up one day with a mysterious egg and falls in love with a larger than life ladybird. The rest of the community aren’t sure whether they want to accept him – can the fly win the fair maiden’s heart? This drama runs through the whole show and is the comic relief in between the quite frankly astounding acts.
My absolute favourite was the flight of the butterflies; it’s a romantic dance through the air and the performers make it look absolutely effortless. It’s so beautiful. They even opened the BAFTAS this year with a tribute to the Shape Of Water.
The Russian cradle is the one that will floor you though. Suspended from the ceiling, men known as ‘porters’ literally fling girls (known as flyers) to each other, hundreds of feet in the air and without a harness. At points I had to look away. It’s unreal.
The Russian cradle in practice backstage…
Fun facts about Cirque du Soleil
- The performance artists travel around the world constantly. In between leaving London in March and arriving in Liverpool in August, they’ll be doing shows in Belgium and Germany.
- They get 2 weeks off 4 times a year to go home and see their family and friends.
- At any one time, Cirque du Soleil have up to 20 completely different shows running worldwide, with Ovo being the most popular and successful one to ever run in the UK.
- Despite the fact there are over 100 artists in a troupe (who are all attractive and in peak physical condition) there isn’t much ‘in dating’ going on. There’s maybe only one or two relationships between cast members and many of them are in long distance relationships back home instead.
- All of their accommodation and food is paid for by Cirque du Soleil – usually hotels for touring shows and short term apartments for residencies like in London.
- Because of this, many of them don’t actually have homes. On their time off they choose to stay with family and friends instead.
- All of their food is provided for them and their coaches offer the caterers strict guidelines on what the performers are allowed to eat.
- Cirque du Soleil performers have a reputation for being party animals – the opposite is actually true. There’s no way you can do the stunts they do with a hangover. It’s too dangerous.
- Cirque du Soleil performers are multinational and multilingual. When I was backstage I heard Russian, Chinese, French, American… in fact, there’s only one British girl in the entire troupe.
- They train every single day. They have a show at 7.30 or 8pm but they’re in the gym first thing in the morning and then back in the theatre at around lunchtime to practice on stage and try out new tricks.
- The show does have an artistic director but the performers choreograph their own acts and they’re always adding in new bits or changing things. They have a lot of artistic freedom over what they do and the likelihood is that you’ll never see the same Cirque du Soleil show twice even if you see ‘Ovo’ more than once for example.
- All of the performers are at peak physical fitness but in completely different ways. The trampoliners have incredibly thick, strong legs but very little flexibility – whereas the contortionists are very lean and lithe but can bend in ways you didn’t even know a human could. I swear down there’s one guy who can sit on his own head. Think about that.
- There are ZERO makeup artists working at Cirque du Soleil – the performers do all their own makeup. Bet they can’t do a glitter cut crease though.
Cirque du Soleil arrives in Liverpool on 16th August and you can get tickets from Ticketmaster here, honestly I can’t recommend going to see it enough. You’ll seriously regret it if you don’t.
LD Productions paid me to attend this event but all opinions and total and utter amazement are 100% my own.