Odysseo sure doesn’t rein in the spectacle.
ODYSSEO directed by Wayne Fowkes, choreographed by Benjamin Aillaud (Cavalia). At the White Big Top (324 Cherry). To June 3. $29.50-$119.50. 1-866-999-8111. See listing. Rating: NNN
Back in 2003, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Norman Latourelle put horses in the spotlight in his equine opus Cavalia, which has since hoofed it around the globe. Now he's back with the grand-sounding Odysseo, and he's added some Cirque glitz to the proceedings, resulting in a sharper show with jaw-dropping production values.
Gone are the cheesy poetic quotes projected onto a screen that made Cavalia so pretentious; instead, he and director Wayne Fowkes employ state-of-the-art film of a variety of settings: jagged mountains, vast deserts and peaceful bucolic meadows, where his four-legged friends might gallop and trot in real life.
The show also features more humans, and not just ones made up to look like knights and ladies moonlighting from Medieval Times (although the men are prone to having Fabio-like manes of hair).
Acrobats from Guinea tumble and jump with fearless abandon, while a sensual aerial act performs on what looks like a gigantic merry-go-round that descends from the ceiling of the White Big Top.
But the real scene-stealers, of course, are the horses of various colours, sizes and temperaments that gallop (creating a natural wind machine for those in the front row), clear fences and perform in unison, sometimes with brave riders jumping over them (and in one eye-popping case, under them).
Horses being horses, they're also prone to doing something else. On opening night, one dropped a load onstage just before a scene with barefoot acrobats. Talk about drama.