Cavalia Odysseo – review

Inside Cavalia Odysseo's white tent

Inside the white tent, the gift shop is behind the audience but near the main entrance along with the snack bars. Monitors display scenes from the show. Photo by Rhonda Lane


Cavalia Odysseo brims with excitement and delights – and not just on the stage.

Founded by a creator of Cirque du Soleil, this second touring Cavalia production echoes the winning Cirque hallmarks – daring acrobats clad in dynamic costumes, ethereal music and Vegas-worthy staging.

The Cavalia shows add horses to the mix, although only the humans do the acrobatic stunts with horses choreographed around them.

Granted, I still see magic in a horse performing the half pass and flying lead changes, but there’s also plenty of thrilling trick riding at high speeds and acrobatic derring-d0.

There is one sequence in which I saw many flat equine ears, but I suspect that had more to do with proximity to other horses, withers to withers, in what amounted to a close formation drill. Despite the mild equine grouchiness, no one bumped withers or hips, nor snapped or kicked at a neighbor, good behavior for a group of potentially territorial stallions and beta-male geldings.

The trick riding and drills are thrilling to watch, but the free liberty sequences are emotionally moving as they depict the human/horse relationship in a pas de deux of freedom and tribal bonding.

I’ve probably blabbed too much. All I’ll say, before I go into the practicalities of attending the show, is that it’s worth saving up for a special event out, especially for a horse lover. Even the non-horsey tagalong spectator can marvel at the acrobatics or the costumes or even the engineering of the spectacular white tent, let alone imagine the logistics of moving Cavalia’s compound.

We saw Odysseo in Somerville, MA, a Boston suburb on a sunny Saturday afternoon. We bought regular seating tickets, although VIP Packages which included stable tours were available.

What spectators see upon arriving at Cavalia Odysseo

The white tent under blue skies with black trailers. More about them soon. Photo by Rhonda Lane

Everything you wanted to know about practicalities but were afraid to ask

See the white tent? It’s climate controlled; i.e., comfortable. The interior is dark and mystical, but the house lighting allows people to find their seats, get snacks and buy souvenirs. The website has a gift shop with the very same items, if you prefer to avoid the milling crowd.

The seats are comfortable, complete with cushions and backs, despite the rig’s portability. There’s not an iffy seat or view in the house. The troupe makes efficient and exciting use of the stage, also allowing maximum action for the performers and visibility for the audience.

The restrooms include mobile restrooms, a couple of semi trailers with plenty of stalls equipped with flush toilets. Some of the big porta johns are available nearby as well. In my defense, I hadn’t realized until I returned home that the photo above included a view of the restroom trailers.

Inside Odysseo's white tent at intermission.

Up the steps, back into a world of wonder. Odysseo’s intermission was about to end. Photo by Rhonda Lane

During the half-hour intermission, Cavalia staffers walk through the audience to sell souvenirs, like plush toy horses and DVDs of show highlights. The staff is polite, helpful and not hawkerish. Here’s a example:

Toward the end of intermission, the crowds in the gift shop overwhelmed me. I knew I could order online, but I still needed to buy a tangible souvenir to take home. Yes, needed. Don’t judge me. 😉

Anyway, on my way back to our seats, I ran into one of the roving sales personnel offering show highlight DVDs for sale. Because I’d been too sick to attend when the original Cavalia had been in Boston, I wanted highlight DVDs for both shows. I beckoned the DVD sales guy over.

First, he apologized for only carrying DVDs from Odysseo but said he’d go back to the booth for the other DVD and promised to deliver it to my seat. In the moments the house lights dimmed, he raced up the bleachers to deliver my second DVD.

Parking is $10. You pay at any sales booth inside the tent. Expect to show your receipt on the way out after the show. What happens if you try to leave and don’t pay? I have no idea. I didn’t want to find out and ruin my post-show after-glow.

Can’t get enough of Odysseo? Here are some more posts, including more traditional reviews:

My preview of the show, including a time lapse video of the tent rising.

What’s it like to get the VIP Package? Eco-BabyZ and The Fortuitous Housewife tell us.

Will Odysseo ride into a town near you? Keep watching the Cavalia Odysseo website for ticket info.

  • Nancy D. Brown
    September 26, 2013

    Hi Rhonda,
    I loved watching the Cavalia show in California last summer. Did we see the same show, or was yours different?

    • Rhonda Lane
      September 26, 2013

      Perhaps. There are two troupes. Cavalia, the first show, I think played San Diego last year, but Odysseo is the one I saw in Boston and that one played Burbank. (A key tip-off might be that Odysseo has a scene with that magnificent grey Andalusian and water toward the end.) Thanks for saying, “hi,” Nancy!

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