Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Theatre Review: Odysseo

By: Alison Silveira
Odysseo by Cavalia is a theatrical spectacle featuring equestrian arts and daring acrobatics that are visually stunning. Over 70 majestic horses grace the stage along with extraordinary performers underneath The White Big Top. As I settled into my seat, I had an inkling of what to expect and as a lover of horses, I was keener than ever to see the creatures up close. However, I could never have imagined the stunts, tricks and enthralling imagery I was about to take in. 
The story unfolds with humans interacting with horses that take them on an epic journey throughout the world. After the opening scene, which features a three-dimensional enchanted forest that comes alive with horses galloping full speed on the stage, I knew I was witnessing something completely unique and special. From green pastures to mystical sand dunes, the horses lead the way as they encounter energetic and enthusiastic people around the globe. 
Rich imagery unfolds and live melodic music plays to delight the senses. Images of vast landscapes are projected on a screen that is three times the size of an IMAX theatre screen; it's big, bold and beautiful. The international cast of both horses and humans take us on a dreamlike voyage where anything is possible
One of the most vivid scenes, is that of a revolving carousel with horses encircling it. Acrobats dangle precariously from long, narrow poles as they contort their bodies and gracefully swing from them. The daring partner work is romantic, ethereal and breathtaking. 
I am in sheer awe of equestrian director and choreographer, Benjamin Aillaud. His vision is boundless and with Odysseo, he has created poetry in motion. The larger than life production takes us through a magical forest, rolling hills and a lake where horses trot gracefully to music as they splash about. Although the show is choreographed, there are elements of unpredictability and improvisation with the horses, as instead of trotting off stage, they would rather roll about on it. 
Odysseo is a great spectacle that captivates audiences every night. Go on a mystical journey with Odysseo and have the ride of your life!
Artistic direction: Norman Latourelle
Direction: Wayne Fowkes
Equestrian direction and choreography: Benjamin Aillaud
Set design: Guillame Lord
Odysseo runs at The White Big Top, 383 Lakeshore Bldv East until May 31, 2015.

Photos by: François Bergeron, Color-ish Company and Shelley Paulson.

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