Cirque du Soleil really know how to build the atmosphere for a show. In the days before the opening night, the giant egg shaped hot air balloon was flown above the city and last night before the opening show, the giant egg lit up next to the big top tent under a stunning sunset.
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With the smell of popcorn in the air, performers dressed as bee-keepers and insects interacted with the crowd until the lights dimmed and ‘The Foreigner’, a bug played by Francois-Gullaume Leblanc, started running through the aisles with OVO on his back, the egg.
The humour between The Foreigner and Master Flipo (played by Joseph Collard) and the romance with Ladybug (Michelle Matlock) provided a thread between the performances.
The audience were then captivated by the hand balancing of Volodomyr Hrynchenko in Dragonfly of Orvalho.
Ants filled the stage, performing an act of foot juggling and Icarian games, before the lights dimmed and a cocoon rose from the stage. An aerial silk performance by Nadine Louis transfixed the crowd, and with the use of lighting and fabric, the performer inside the silk created a visually stunning act resembling the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to butterfly.
The Butterflies (Svitlana Kashevarova and Dmytro Orel) then performed an amazing show on ropes and straps, sending the crowds heads twirling as they watched them spin.
Next was the Firefly (Tony Frebourg) performing a Diablo act, throwing his spinning Diablo so high it almost hit the roof of the big top. His act ended with him juggling 4 spinning Diablo at once.
Lee Brearly then performed his ‘Creatura’, a strange creature which changes shape, leaving everyone wondering how many people are inside the costume.
Flying Scarabs then took to the trapeze, as a net lowered from the roof of the big top tent. The Scarabs flipped and swung, landing perfectly on the hands of other beetles, and catching each other in a puff of chalk.
The crowd came back from the intermission to a contortion act by the Web-Spiders (Svetlana Belova, Robyn Huopt, Nadine Louis) amongst a web of ropes.
Fleas hopped about the stage with their Acrosport, juggling each other and stacking three performers high.
Li Wei then took to the slackwire as Spiderman, rising from the floor balanced upside down as the wire lifted higher. He balanced and contorted on the wire and ended the act by riding a unicycle with his neck and hands to thunderous applause.
The main characters of Ladybug, The Foreigner and Master Flipo returned with abundant slapstick, involving the crowd in trying to help The Foreigner woo Ladybug to much laughter.
Crickets climbed a rock wall and leapt off onto trampolines in what has become one of Cirque du Soleil’s signature performances. The Crickets leapt and climbed swinging along the rock ledge across each others arms like they were vines.
The finale saw the cast come back out to take a bow, including the band of cockroaches who provided the music for the entire show, and ended with butterfly confetti covering the stage and crowd to a standing ovation for the opening night.
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Jordan Shields 2013.