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Cavalia marked its return to Toronto last night with an opening performance to 2300 people in the crowd. The evening also marked the 800th performance of the Odysseo. This was also the second time I had seen the show – having seen it back in spring 2012, when they first brought the show to Toronto. Having seen both performances spread over 3 years certainly gave me a unique experience and insight into the show itself. In attendance with me, my sister joined to take in the spectacle and I bring this up because he opinion of the show adds an important depth to the short review I’ll be sharing.

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Cavalia Odysseo is a well crafted show – ideal for anyone on a date especially, but kids, family, friends and anyone else will love it. There’s moments that make you go ‘wow’ all throughout, as I heard my sister exclaim several times. Having seen it before certainly made it less special for me and more apt to notice the flaws. When I first saw it in 2012, it felt like a perfect performance – that was roughly 600 performances ago. The performance I saw last night was about 90% of the show I saw in 2012, with the main noticeable flaws being that half a dozen horses were certainly not following the script, acting out and a lot more kicking than I saw back then. A ‘shower’ head which was only supposed to run for a few minutes, continued to run for 20 – creating quite the loud sound of water dripping. Again, it didn’t destroy the performance but it certainly detracted those 10% points.

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All that said, the magic of horses and humans is certainly not lost in this show. Whether it was acrobatic acts of the humans, the impressive training of the horses, or the humans working in tandem to combine their superhuman strengths with the amazing grace and speed of the horses. There’s an acrobatic team of guys who come out to entertain through an endless series of flips, jumps, and human ‘totem poles’, and new to the show (at least from my 2012 viewing), is a woman who twirls a lasso very well. Then there’s the acrobats able to fly around on hoops, climb polls on a custom merry-go-round.

All of this is fleshed out through the use of props, backdrops, a large video screen and even the final act of the show where they flood the entire floor. Together, it all combines to create a show that is both memorable and engaging. Having seen it before, it was certainly still quite impressive – but for the person who has never seen it before you will truly come out of it blown away by what you witnessed.

Cavalia’s Odysseo is running in Toronto until May 10th.

As an addendum: I wanted to point out that Cavalia is entirely friendly for anyone driving, but if you are taking the TTC or parking far away from the big tent – wear crappy shoes. The grounds around the tent are rocky, and if it has rained, very muddy. I took the TTC as close as I could get and it was raining and needless to say, my shoes and pants are a mess. I also witnessed several women in high heels struggling to walk over the rocky ground. So just keep that in mind.

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