Months ago, I experienced a first.

Hard to believe – but there are plenty of firsts I’m yet to encounter.

As an avid attender of live performance in all its transient incantations, I must admit that until now, I had never seen a Cirque du Soleil show. The shows themselves have been orbiting me in rumour and advertising on buses for some time – and for whatever reason, I had neglected that part of my experiential diet. So feeling a little behind the times (as I usually feel) I struggled along to the Big Top in Moore Park in Sydney’s soggy September weather.

There’s no doubt about it – a beautiful and epic show. Brightly coloured, lithe and brilliant. Full of feats of endurance, strength and precision brought about by years of persistence and possible bruising.

Themed in as “An immersion into the teeming and energetic world of insects” I couldn’t suspend the magnificence of the human body. The majesty of insects and the natural world exploded and amplified into the wonder of human musculature. But the wonder doesn’t begin and end with unlikely twists and twirls of limbs – the visual (and therefore technical) artistry of the design – costume, makeup and set – all lavish and detailed – extreme and sumptuous. A LONG way from the bareboard, poor theatre I spend so much of my time experiencing. it felt like I was saturated in colour and movement – dazzled in jaw-dropped delight. Instead pure exhilarating spectacle – physical, no text, just music and jibberish and highly translatable visual storytelling.

And of course one can full appreciate the resource and thrill of a spectacle such as OVO. My quibble really lies in the story – which was fairly lumpy and basic. The initial first image is of an overwhelmingly large glowing sphere (Ovo?) … impressive… but as the show goes on Ovo is revealed to be a hard-shelled egg carried by a generic blue beetle. Having spent (some could say too much) time with biologists, the science and the logic of the natural world was surrendered for spectacle. So yes – the energy of the insects was maintained – but the conceit in which it was based, wasn’t. Spiders left their potential meals alone, there was plenty of inter-species love interests sparking up, and what we are given is not anything close to the wonder of insects – but the wonder of the human imagination- which is a different spectacle in and of itself.

But I suppose I’m not supposed to look for story in circus – just entertainment – but once you’ve seen, been ‘wowed’, then intimidated by the extreme feats of presentation -then What? Story still matters. At least it still does to me.

I’m old fashioned like that.