July 3, 2017
Here’s definitely something that would fit under the “non-running” category of my blog. But, I hope you all enjoy this review:
I saw Cavalia’s “Odysseo” in Mississauga with a large group of seven on June 23, 2017.
We got the VIP package which included a dinner buffet before the show, open bar (wine and beer), and dessert buffet during intermission, access to the stables after the show, and a souvenir (book). I think the package was quite worth it:
The pre-show buffet was quite good. It seemed like there was a bit of a Mediterranean taste to the buffet with couscous and pita bread. There was also smoked salmon, shrimp, kale salad, and pasta. The steak sirloin pieces were star of the buffet. They were tender, and grilled an excellent medium. There weren’t too many different items; the buffet was more quality over quantity. There was also a station serving mini-sliders, pizza, and popcorn. You could bring the popcorn into the show to snack on. The open bar served wine and beer, but you could also get a variety of soft drinks and bottled water you could bring into the show. So, for the $40-or-so upgrade you almost get your money’s worth right there.
The dessert buffet during the intermission was a nice treat too. You went back to the separate VIP tent, and a selection of cakes, pastries, fruits, and other sweets. The bar was open again too. Perhaps the only downside was that you only got 30 minutes, so by the time you came over from your seats you didn’t have much time.
The VIP passes allowed access to the stables after the show. You had to wait a little bit while they got the horses settled, but once we were allowed in you could walk around and see the horses. You were not allowed to touch or feed them, but you could see the vet tech’s attending to the horses after the show. There was also an opportunity to take photos with and get autographs from human performers.
As for the performance itself, I came in with very high expectations and it exceeded them all. Having paid a lot of money and having seen 3 Cirque Du Soleil shows, I was worried I would feel let down by this show in the suburbs. I was mistaken. This was a truly high-quality show, to rival the entertainment you would get at any concert or sporting venue.
I don’t know anything about horses, or dressage, or such. And it didn’t matter. Such large animals, moving so fast, in formation, almost dancing was impressive. The performers also did tricks with the animals that looked very impressive, like doing acrobatics and tricks in (and sometimes under) the saddles, and other rather dangerous-looking stunts.
There was also a lot of performance quality from the non-equine, human performers. There was a troop of acrobats that performed very impressive feats of human athleticism. And there was impressive gymnastics-like work you would expect from a circus show. One particular scene with a “carousel” was particularly impressive.
I’ve used the word impressive a lot, but that’s the word that keeps coming to mind!
It was all choreographed very beautifully, and time seemed to fly; the show never seemed to drag and I never checked my watch.
One review I read before said the show was full of human and equine muscle. These performers with their 8-pack abs lived up to that moniker.
The White Big Top tent was a performer itself. They truly transformed this empty field into a temporary stadium. It felt much larger inside than it appeared on the outside. At first I was concerned the stage was really small, but curtains rolled back throughout the show to reveal a rather large stage for the horses, acrobats, and other performers to perform. The use of screens and lighting were also very effective at conveying the different climates and topography they were trying to emulate. And their use of water was something that definitely would not have been possible in a stadium. The tent was a performer in itself!
I did not take any photos during the show because they asked for no pictures or recordings, especially no flash photography. Quite a few people did though, which was disappointing, and a little rude. The promotional videos and images from Odysseo’s website give you a pretty good idea of how it looks. And some people have shared images anyways.
Perhaps the only reason I wouldn’t rate it 5/5 stars, would be the price. It is a rather steep price for ticket. Spending $200+ for a show feels a little extravagant. I understand and I see why it was so expensive, and I feel we got a very high-quality performance, but I can see how the ticket price could discourage some people.
And, I didn’t like that we had to pay for parking, when parking at the Hershey Centre is normally free.
But, as I said before, the show was impressive, an impressive merging of horseplay and gymnastics. It is pricey, but high-quality.
A little off-topic, but there was a little musical performance piece in the middle where the dancers encouraged a “call-and-response” kind of game with the audience. The audience was encouraged to reply back “O Walu Guere Moufan” which is a phrase in the Susu language, spoken in the coastal regions of Guinea which is the home of some of Odysseo’s acrobats. At the end of that scene, the screen showed the translation: No More War on Earth. It’s a very nice sentiment.