Los Angeles Theater Review: CAVALIA’S ODYSSEO (The White Big Top in Burbank)

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by Tom Chaits on March 4, 2013

in Theater-Los Angeles


In 2003, Normand Latourelle, one of the co-founders of Cirque du Soleil, was ready to up the entertainment ante when he introduced his equine extravaganza Cavalia to the world. The show was a smash right out of the gate and has been galloping Tom Chaits' Stage and Cinema review of Cavalia's ODYSSEO in Burbankaround the globe ever since. Not willing to rest on his laurels, Latourelle was compelled to create an even bigger, better and bolder show and with Odysseo he did just that. Be prepared to be blown away.

A majestic melding of state-of-the-art technology and pure theatrical magic, Odysseo is a wonder to behold from start to finish. Performed under the world’s largest tent (seating over 2000) and featuring over 60 horses, more than 50 performers (acrobats, equestrian artists, aerialists, and musicians), a video backdrop bigger than three IMAX screens (with 19 projectors), a 35,000 square foot stage (with 6,000 tons of sand, stone and dirt flooring), a life-size carousel (lowered from the 70 ton technical grid), 300 costumes, and 80,000 gallons of water that floods the stage for the finale, the show is nothing short of an awe-inspiring spectacle.

As the curtains part you are immediately transported to another world: a mystical forest where the horses roam free sans human interaction leaving the audience to wonder how the animals know where to go and when. They perform their Tom Chaits' Stage and Cinema review of Cavalia's ODYSSEO in Burbankchoreography perfectly, even holding for applause when they hit their marks before moving on to their next positions. It’s amazing to witness. Soon the humans arrive and it’s off to the races.

From the comfort of your seat, over the next two hours (actually closer to three hours if you consider any hold times and a 40 minute intermission) you embark on a journey around the world spanning continents and hemispheres: from the African plains to Easter Island, Death Valley, and fantastical lands with shooting stars and the swirling Northern Lights. Thanks to the high tech wizardry of the video screens and the lighting the arena transforms itself completely for each new location. The accompanying music – sometimes instrumental, sometimes with vocals – is perfectly suited to each new scene and is nothing short of mesmerizing.

The comic relief of the show is provided by a drum beating troupe from Guinea that will astound you with their acrobatic acumen. You will be left speechless witnessing their feats of super-human agility. Not to be outdone, the aerialists perform their Tom Chaits' Stage and Cinema review of Cavalia's ODYSSEO in Burbankroutines (on rings, carousel poles and silks) with a grace and fluidity which is simply jaw dropping.

And then there are the true stars of the show: the horses. Even if you are a person who has never placed a bet on the ponies, visited a stable or jumped into a saddle you will be none-the-less overtaken by the beauty of these truly magnificent creatures. There are a dozen different breeds on display each one more stunning that the last. The riders put the four legged wonders through their paces in every way imaginable performing tricks of daring at every turn.

Make no mistake about it – Cavalia’s Odysseo is like nothing you have ever seen before. After you have taken it all in you will realize that there simply are not enough “ooohs” and “aaaahs” in the world to do justice to what you have just experienced.

The Rendez-Vous VIP package:

If you really want to make an evening of it, you might want to consider springing for the VIP package. Beginning 90 minutes prior to show time you are invited into the exclusive Rendez-Vous tent for a buffet dinner complete with wine, beer and a wide array of non-alcoholic beverages. The menu on the night I attended included Tom Chaits' Stage and Cinema review of Cavalia's ODYSSEO in BurbankChinese Chicken salad, salad Nicoise, smoked salmon, baked brie with walnuts, samosas, a chicken dish, a shrimp dish and many other selections (I guess, in deference to the horses there was no red meat on the menu). You then view the show from the best seats in the house. During the intermission it’s back into the tent for a dessert buffet (if you have any room left after gorging at the dinner buffet) including various cookies, cakes, fruit and ice cream. After the show you are treated to a tour of the stables where you get to see the horses up close and meet many of the performers. As a special gift you get either a colorful program brochure or a calendar. Of course this all comes at a premium but if you want to celebrate a special night out it’s well worth the cost.

Tom Chaits' Stage and Cinema review of Cavalia's ODYSSEO in Burbank

photos by François Bergeron, Pascal Ratthé and JF Leblanc

Cavalia’s Odysseo
under The White Big Top in Burbank
scheduled to end on March 24, 2013
EXTENDED to April 14, 2013
for tickets, call ­1-866-999-8111 or visit http://www.cavalia.net

Tom Chaits' Stage and Cinema review of Cavalia's ODYSSEO in Burbank

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Shurtleff March 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Re; Taking pictures during the show. Regardless of the pre show warning about photos, last night was a joke. If there isn’t any more effort on the part of the staff, to prevent 10% of the crowd from disrupting the show for all those around them, it’s a done deal!!! Far less irritating just to wait for the CD and see it at home!


Peter M. & Frances L. Cobb November 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Please send me the info for when Cavalia’s Mystical/Magical Horse Performance starts in the Los Angeles area? I have always wanted to take my family and just never had a chance to. As for me, it’s a must see show!

Thank you very much.


Editor-in-Chief Tony Frankel November 27, 2016 at 10:06 am

It’s now playing in Orange County through January 8, 2017, Mr. Cobb. Please contact Cavalia directly for any more info.


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