Contrary to all the wintry wonder that’s come down on us lately, those aren’t gigantic snow-covered mountains popping up near Olympic Village – that is the magical Big White Top of Cavalia Odysseo, making its enchanting return to Vancouver after three years!
Cavalia calls their Odysseo production, “The Best Show Ever,” and we agree 100%! Created by Normand Latourelle (who co-founded Cirque Du Soleil), Odysseo features a mesmerizing mélange of horses (65 to be exact!), horseback riders, performers, live singers and musicians, acrobats and aerialists and 350 beautifully designed costumes. The original score is played and sung live (for every performance) and the audience is brought to different parts of the world without have to leave their seats. The stage is dynamic and chameleon-like, taking us through vivid scenery and moods seamlessly and beautifully. But even more moving is the relationship between the horses and the human performers. It’s clear that the horses are well-trained and nurtured and treated with respect and care. And while watching some of the more daring feats in the show, you also realize the degree of mutual trust there is between the horse and the performer!
The whole production was amazing but without giving too much of the show away (because you have to see it to believe it), some of the most memorable scenes and performances included a full-size carousel with gravity-defying acrobats, heart-racing trick riding and horse jumping, a “visit” to the African savanna and a super-impressive performance which transforms the stage into a beautiful turquoise lagoon.
We received two Rendez-Vous tickets which include a cocktail hour and buffet dinner in the Rendez-Vous tent prior to the show, as well as a dessert buffet during intermission. In addition to the delicious worldly buffet choices that include Chimmichurri sirloin steak, red lentil daal and shrimps-Hawaiian, there is a boutique in the Rendez-Vous tent to shop for souvenirs, take photos and get in the Cavalia mood (which wasn’t hard at all). There was even a kids’ section complete with a kids-only buffet that included pizza and hot dogs. The desserts during intermission were just as mouth-watering and were the perfect opportunity to talk to other attendees about how amazing the first act was.
The Rendez-Vous pass holders also had the opportunity to visit the stables after the show and get a brief behind-the-scenes tour. It was nice to see where all the pre-show magic happens for the horses – the washing stations were clean and bright, the horses were getting their hair braided for the evening and the kids that were there had a great time meeting all the horses and talking to some of the performers. We even got to walk onto the Cavalia stage and get a horse’s eye view!
From the minute the show starts to the marvelous finale, you immediately realize that this is truly a unique production. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were in a fairytale storybook, make sure to run (or gallop) to the next performance! This show will give you all those feels!
Some tips and tricks if you plan on attending Cavalia Odysseo:
- If you suffer from hay and dust allergies, you may want to take allergy meds right before heading to the show. It doesn’t get too dusty, but for those that might be more sensitive, it doesn’t hurt to come prepared to guarantee a great night!
- On-site parking is $20 and you can either pay in advance or when you get there. If you do pay in advance, make sure to print out the voucher and bring it with you to avoid any difficulties. The Big White Top is also within walking distance to Olympic Village station if you plan on taking public transit.
- There are food options available in the concessions area inside the Big White Top if you plan on buying some snacks during the show.
- Every seat is a good seat – with the exception of the obstructed view seats (which are marked)!
- The tents are really warm, so you will most likely take your coat off while watching the show. There isn’t much space to hold extra things while you’re seated, so make sure to just wear one warm coat instead of a bunch of layers so you don’t have to hold all of those in your lap during the show.
- The show time is 2 hours with a 30-minute intermission. Depending on your little ones, kids might get antsy towards the end because it’s past their bedtime. If you think they will, opt for a matinee showing instead.
Cavalia Odysseo runs in Vancouver until March 5th under the Big White Top. Visit here for showtime and ticket information.
The Big White Top, Olympic Village