Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Odysseo" lives up to its hype

Acrobats (photo by Francois Bergeron)
It's possible that ticket prices are daunting for this amazing blend of human and horse feats of derring-doo. Still, Odysseo is likely to be one of the most memorable "event" experiences you can hope to see, anywhere in the world. So, what price is worth that? Only your pocketbook can tell.

With 66 horses, a good number of them performing without saddle or bridle of any kind, and 52 artists, including riders/handlers, riding acrobats, aerialists and acrobats, this is an immersion into a fantasy world where you don't have to think or analyze. It's all wonder and emotion. 

A small band of musicians play live music, though they are so well integrated that they sound recorded. Like Cirque du Soleil "songs," the words are unintelligible combinations of  lovely sounds and flavors of language that are beautifully delivered by Anna-Laura Edmiston.

The troupe of African acrobats (apologies if not all of them are African, though some must be from Guinea per press release) are particularly engaging and crowd pleasing. Their energetic antics are cheeky and laugh-inducing, but also have aspects of amazing physical strength and endurance. Their enjoyment is infectious and they get the crowd clapping. 

The horses are asked to do things that can be extremely taxing for them, like stepping sideways, and maintaining formations. But none of them are coerced, and it's clear from back stage conversation with groomers that the horses are cossetted and even spoiled in encouraging them to cooperate. On stage, the spectacle of unfettered horses staying in formations or, in the event that one decides he wants to run his own way, the calm encouragement to get back into place, is calming and awe-inspiring.

Sometimes, like a three ring circus, there is so much to see that it is impossible to focus on one person or trick, particularly when a host of aerialists swing from rings around the stage. An enormous video backdrop enhances the scenery over a huge mountain built especially for the performance. 

The finale includes pouring 80,000 gallons of water onto what had been a sandy surface, turning the stage into a lake in just a few minutes. All in all, there is nothing like this anywhere else. Seattle has just extended the run until March 16th, but there doesn't seem like anything is holding them back from extending even further. As there is also no guarantee, don't wait to lock in your opportunity to go. 

Feel completely free to bring the whole family. Even children as little as 4 or 5 will probably find enough to rivet them to the stage, and there is nothing offensive anywhere, except a few piles of horse poop on the stage.

For more information, go to www.cavalia.net or call 1-866-999-8111.