Friday, April 17, 2015

Dream Incarnate: CAVALIA: ODYSSEO Under the Big Top at The Portlands, Toronto

There are a few times in life, when, as an audience member, one is treated to a theatrical production of such surreal beauty and invention, it is as if someone managed to make to make a dream manifest right here on earth.

ODYSSEO, by Normand Latourelle's Quebec-based company, Cavalia is one of those sublime artistic  achievements.

The equine spectacle is truly an odyssey.  The entire stage transforms from scene to scene, as ice fields, mountains, deserts, savannas and enchanted forests appear before our astonished eyes. Driven by music, these mirages are created using a dazzling array of seamlessly manipulated video projections, lighting, layered scrims, and a huge, tilting stage.

Against this mesmerizing backdrop, an international cast of  mind-numbingly athletic, talented and brave horses and humans take the audience around the world for a series of spectacular delights.

As the horses, appear, one by one, you can see each one is a star in his (they are all male) own right. They are powerful and gorgeous: their spirits shine in every move they make.

Their human counterparts are equally impressive. Using charm, humour, aerial work, stunt riding, dressage, dance, tumbling and live music, the performers, human and equine, create sequence after sequence of gasp-inducing feats of skill and strength, and tableaux of arresting loveliness on the spectacular set.

The costumes, music, technical production and direction are as superlative as the performers and the sets.

For the finale, a lake forms before our eyes, and horses and riders create a water ballet to remember.

ODYSSEO transports audiences to a glorious world of fantasy and imagination. Get a ticket - and take the kids. They'll love it, and so will you.

Cavalia's ODYSSEO continues under The Big Top at the foot of Cherry Street. For times and tickets call 1-866-999-8111 or go to