In French, the native tongue of Cirque du Soleil, the word for water is eau, pronounced “O”, and there’s plenty of it in this breathtaking theatrical extravaganza conceived by Franco Dragone. Most of the stage floor is given over to a large pool that, thanks to some theatrical magic, appears, changes shape, and disappears at the director’s will. In, around, under, and (most spectacularly) above this transmutable stage Dragone has created a surrealistic dream of wonder.
In typical Cirque fashion, an oddball assortment of clowns and “characters” runs through the entire show occupying the margins of the action and hinting at some mysterious storyline that may or may not exist. In any event, they are window dressing to the major circus acts that form the core of the show. And what acts they are!
Most of them are aerial acts taken to amazing lengths of imagination and bravado. Occasionally, the action descends to pool level, on floating islands or small platforms that rise from the watery depths. Here acrobats and contortionists hold forth, diving into the water and performing intricate water ballets.
In one exhilarating number, a succession of divers soar aloft from wildly swinging platforms to perform stunning, and occasionally funny, dives into the pool. In another, acrobats perform on a ghostly ship swaying high overhead.
The depth and breadth of theatrical imagination on display here is seemingly limitless and even the simple act of raising the curtain when the show begins can take your breath away. Like many Cirque shows, this is one where it helps to get some distance from the stage. That way you can better take in the staggeringly beautiful stage pictures that follow one after the other in this truly magical production.
O will no doubt run forever at the Bellagio. Tickets are $94 to $150. For more information call 800-963-9634, 702-796-9999, or log on to www.cirquedusoleil.com . Tickets are available three months in advance.