Cavalia had come to Edmonton a couple years ago, and while I’d heard great reviews about the show from other people I kind of assumed Odysseo by Cavalia would be like rodeo-type show, which I’m not a big fan of. I didn’t know much about Cavalia, but I knew it was Cirque du Soleil-esque (which I have enjoyed), but with horses. Perhaps it was time to give Odysseo a chance.
My friend and I had VIP tickets, which got us access into the Rendez-Vous tent before the show (and during intermission). Before the show, there was a buffet supper and inclusive drinks (beer and wine and nonalcoholic drinks). Normally I wouldn’t care about VIP tickets, but Odysseo is set up in an odd area in Edmonton with not a lot of restaurants nearby. Being able to have dinner at the show, instead of having to go somewhere else for dinner and fight rush hour traffic was nice. Inside the Rendez-Vous tent was lots of seating, plus a gift shop.
The show itself is a combination of dancing, acrobatics, stunts, and horsemanship. There are over 60 horses (all male) in Odysseo (not all the horses are in the show), but Odysseo wasn’t just people riding around on horses. The show breaks up the horse riding acts with dance, stunt or acrobatic performance acts, and wow could these performers move. In one of the opening segments some of the performers wore what I can only describe as trampolines in shoe form. Some of the performers did, like a million cartwheels in a row (might have only been 10 or so, but it was a lot). One scene there aerial acrobatics from a giant carousel. It was all spectacular, but Carosello, Tempête, and Appel D’Afrique (an audience participation section – I love those) were some of my favourite non-horse acts from Odysseo.
The horses themselves were fantastic, and aside from a moment where one of the horses got a bit confused and went the wrong way, everything looked great. There are 68 (I believe) horses, 20 stallions and the rest geldings. Some of the younger horses were still in training (not in the show yet), and the oldest horse was 13 or 15. The majority of the horses are about 9 years old. In the program I got it said Odysseo was created around the horses, and I believe it. In the opening during a part where the horses are parading around, I swear one flipped back his mane as if to say, “I’m fabulous.” Tribu, Les Nomades, and La Grande Adventure were my favourite horse acts from the show, but they were all fantastic.
Odysseo is French (started in Quebec), and while there isn’t a structured story there is live music and songs during the show. These songs are in French, but not matter your understanding of French chances are you’ll be more focused on what’s happening on stage. The music was live, with a live band and singer, and this added to the show (so much better than having a prerecorded album play through a sound system. This probably has no bearing on anyone else’s opinion, but I loved the guy playing the violin. He got so into the songs, even when he wasn’t playing.
Of course there were many other things that added to Odysseo. The costumes, those worn by the people and those worn by the horses, were phenomenal, and some looked like they had very intricate details (beading, sequins, etc). Another visual component that made this show fantastic was the set itself. As I mentioned before the who theatre (area under the big top) felt very intimate, and I think that’s part of the set and how the stage is set. Even when the was stage expanded it still felt like a small show. Odysseo using a screen to change backdrops, plus a few other set pieces and theatre tricks means the audience is transported to different locations during different seasons during the show.
After the show VIP guest were able to go to the stables for a meet and greet with the stars of the shows (the horses). While people could take non-flash photos they couldn’t feed or pet the horses, which is understandable because with a hundred or so people going through the stables all that activity would be pretty overwhelming. Some of the trainers were there braiding the horses’ manes (the horses had prettier braids than I’ve ever had). I know nothing about horses or horse breeds, but if you’re into that kind of thing then the VIP tickets with the stable tour would be well worth it.
Aside from the fact the show is a bit far from where I live there isn’t much I can find at fault with Odysseo. VIP tickets are about $200, but lowest price seats are $39 plus tax, so for two hours of entertainment it is a great deal. If you’re in Edmonton before August 17, 2014 I strongly recommend seeing Odysseo. It’s spellbinding show that’s unlike anything else out there.
I was provided two complimentary VIP tickets and a program for my guest and I to see Odysseo on its opening night performance. All opinions about my experience with Odysseo are my own.
Have you seen Odysseo?