Odysseo by Cavalia had come to Edmonton a couple of years ago. While I’d heard great reviews from other people I assumed it would be like a rodeo-type show, which I don’t enjoy. I didn’t know much about Cavalia, but I knew it was Cirque du Soleil style show, but with horses. Perhaps it was time to give Odysseo a chance.
Before the Show
My friend and I had VIP tickets, which got us access to 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 non-alcoholic beverages). Usually, 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 supper and fight rush hour traffic was a bonus. Inside the Rendez-Vous tent was lots of seating, plus a gift shop.
The Show Itself
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 had 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 nine years old. They created Odysseo around the horses. 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 no 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. I loved the guy playing the violin. He got so into the songs, even when he wasn’t playing.
There was a lot that added to my Odysseo experience. 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. Even when they expanded the stage, the show felt intimate. Odysseo used a screen to change backdrops, plus a few other set pieces and theatre tricks mean the audience is transported to different locations during different seasons during the show.
After the Show
As we VIP guest we were able to go to the stables for a meet and greet with the stars of the shows (the horses). You could take non-flash photos, but you weren’t allowed to feed or pet the horses. With a hundred or so people going to the stables all that activity would be pretty overwhelming, so the no- pet/no-food rule is understandable. 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.
The show was a bit far from where I live, but there isn’t much else I can find at fault with Odysseo. VIP tickets are about $200, but lowest price seats are $39 plus tax. For two hours of entertainment, this is a great deal. If Odysseo is coming to a city near you, I’d highly recommend getting tickets.
Things You Should Know
I was provided two complimentary VIP tickets and a program for my friend and me to see Odysseo on opening night in Edmonton. All opinions about my experience with Odysseo are my own. Photos in this post are courtesy of Odysseo by Cavalia.
This show has now ended in Edmonton. To see where Odysseo by Cavalia is playing next, please visit their website.
If you are visiting Edmonton and looking for a hotel you can book one here.
Would you see Odysseo by Cavalia?