Our family attended the opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON. This was my first Cirque show and the first real performance experience for my boys other than music concerts.

They were both very excited to go – they are eight and ten-years-old – and I am very happy we all went as a family. From the first moment we walked into the stage area from the concourse, we were amazed.

The overall atmosphere of OVO is a big celebration. With lively South American music and an incredibly colourful set and costumes, the show feels like a friendly, happy place. The entomology-themed show (bugs!) is really fun for both adults and the children. We had actually just finished an entomology project at school where the students had made “super bugs” so the timing was great.

The characters in the show are all bugs who speak in chirps and tweets, which our kids and the children around us really loved. The three main actors are phenomenal and even though they aren’t speaking coherent words, we understand what they are communicating, oftentimes laughing to their antics. There is a story line running through the show about a crush the main insect has on a very lively ladybug, which is sweet and easy for kids to follow.

The acrobatics in this show are absolutely amazing. Early on, a male and female duo hang on to each other and to a loop at the end of a cable, which gets swung high and far around the stage. The gasps from the audience start there and continue through the entire show. Actually, the opening scene with the six ants flipping large pieces of kiwi (and each other) around by there feet is also awe-inspiring but more in a “wow – how do they do that?” way.

There are contortionists, which my boys found very interesting. My youngest kept saying, “I didn’t know you could roll your bum up your back.” We were laughing pretty hard at that!

If you have younger children, I’d suggest finding a way to stay until the end because the trampoline act will blow their minds! The performers jump from a climbing wall several stories high down onto a trampoline and back up to the top of the wall again. Simultaneously, men come racing along a mat runway tumbling right to the end of the stage. I watched my boy’s faces as this was on and they both had their mouths open and eyes very wide.

I’d say that OVO is a joyously friendly show for children. When the performers aren’t concentrating, they are smiling, and the costumes and music are both very uplifting. We saw children of all ages there. There’s only one very brief scene where four stick-looking insects on stilts appear to go after another bug but rescue comes quickly and the rest is pretty smooth sailing for younger ones.

There are bright lights and some loud music but it didn’t appear bothersome to the younger children near us. If you have a set of over-ear headsets, you might want to bring those along just in case.

The performance runs for just over two hours, which includes a twenty-minute intermission. We went to a 7:30pm showing and were back inside our house by 10pm. If this is late for your kids, I suggest having a later or longer nap to get through the evening. I wasn’t sure if my younger son would be able to sit through a show of that length but he was memorized, sitting intently the entire time. He actually was very sad when the show was over. I didn’t see any yawns from either of them.

In addition to the evening performances, there are three earlier times on the weekend. There is a 4pm matinee on Saturday and two afternoon shows on Sunday at 1:30pm and 5pm.

Regardless of which show time you choose, I suggest going about half-an-hour early to peruse the cool merchandise table and also to see the pre-show action. Some of the performers are walking around, doing tricks very close to where people are sitting and that was a great way to get into the fun feel of the show. Our kids loved that. Oh, if you sit on the floor, be prepared to interact with the performers!

Cirque du Soleil: OVO is running until Father’s Day (Sunday, June 18th) at Budweiser Gardens. I’m on the email list for the arena and received an email with a 25% off discount for some seats as a Father’s Day promotion. There is also a discount if you gather 12 or more people together to go. I suggest joining their FB event and looking through the venue’s website for more information and to buy tickets.