They jump, they trot, they dazzle.
Cavalia’s equestrian cast is something to behold. Their newest touring act, ODYSSEO, marks their first time in the Midwest. It is nothing if not spectacular. Encompassing a variety of performing arts in addition to horses, ODYSSEO is absolutely breathtaking.
Cavalia’s Horses and Riders Perform Impeccable Feats
The primary draw to Cavalia is the horses. It’s the only mainstage show in the world that uses horses as its stars—65 of them total, no less! We’re treated to a variety of riding styles by the unbelievably talented trainers.
There’s Roman style where we are literally holding our breath as two horses trot side by side while the rider stands on their saddles as they move. But of course the riders did this with ease and grace.
There’s cossack/trick riding where the riders are on horses galloping at full speed towards a center ring. As the horses go around the ring, the riders perform stunts jumping in and out of the saddle, once even riding upside down!
During liberty pieces, the horses are without any reigns or guides and are instructed by their trainers alone. There are at least 26 horses onstage at one point and are so highly in tune with their trainers they follow their lead without much direction (save for one or two who decided to make a break for the exit at one point).
Anytime the riders and horses are on the stage, it was always a new and exciting routine unlike any of the others. It is absolutely captivating and our eyes can’t leave the stage for a moment!
Fantastic Additional Performers
Accompanying the horses and their riders are at least four other types of performances expertly incorporated into this show. There are tumblers, aerialists, a vocalist, and a band. These other performers are what elevate ODYSSEO to a level more than just a demonstration of horsemanship. Sometimes these performers will be in a number with horses, but other times they are in their own, also performing with tremendous skill.
The crowd claps to the music and The New Guinean tumblers draw energy from the beat. They perform flips and jumps across the stage as well as form human pyramids.
The aerialists are absolutely breathtaking as they perform on a life-size carousel and then do an aerial hoop routine.
The vocalist, Valentina Spreca, and accompanying band also provide the perfect soundtrack to this show, with Spreca weaving in and out of the action.
Stunning Visuals And Theatrical Elements
The beauty of this show is not only in the horses, riders, and other artists, but also in the theatrical elements used to enhance the performance.
The stage is 17,500 square feet and made completely of sand, rock, and earth. This, combined with the lighting effects and projections, makes us feel like we’re either in dusty deserts or green hilly pastures.
We are transported from rolling fields of the Nomads, to Africa, even to the skies and the edge of the universe.
Cavalia’s ODYSSEO is, in a word, spectacular. There isn’t a moment where anyone in the audience will be bored. It is amazing how much time and dedication is spent in training these horses. They behave magnificently. These equestrian acts, combined with the other performers in the show, create a unique and magical experience.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.
Now through June 3, 2017
Matinee and evening performances vary by date, check website for more details
1410 Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605