Review of Cavalia’s Odysseo

Odysseo Poster

Odysseo performs in Chicago through April 23.

Montreal circus company Cavalia has a new show that opened recently in Chicago (playing through April 23, 2017 at Soldier Field). The show is called Odysseo and bills itself as “The Best Show Ever.”

That’s a lot to live up to.  It’s a beautiful, sumptuous show that has amazingly talented acrobats, equestrians, and some of the most talented and trained horses I’ve ever seen.  The costumes are gorgeous, the lighting is beautiful, and the projections are stunning. The music is haunting and engaging. And the sets- oh my gosh, the sets are unbelievable.

Is that the Best Show ever?  I don’t think so, but it’s pretty close.


The show has spared no expense to create the environment- the tent is 125 feet tall, the stage is larger than an ice rink, there is a video screen 3 times larger than an IMAX, they use 40,000 gallons of water to create a LAKE on stage, and they build the set at each venue using 10,000 tons of rock, earth, and sand.

48 human performers make up Odysseo, including riders, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, and musicians.  In addition, 65 performing horses of 11 different breeds. Other impressive numbers include 350 costumes, 100 pairs of shoes in the show, and at times 15 simultaneous wardrobe changes. This is not a small show.

But forgetting about the numbers and the vast technical feat that it is to get all of these elements working together, the show is just stunning.  It shows the beauty and majesty of the horses.  Although at times the horses are ridden, (and the riders do all kinds of heart stopping tricks) there are many other times where the horse perform at liberty- free from riders, free from trainers.  They seem to be fully their own actors on the stage.  That’s where this show is different from most other circuses.  The horses are shown in all of their glory, and shown as individuals.


A number of acts that are amazing, I especially loved the act in which a carousel descends from the sky, and the acrobats do a pole act around it as it is moving, and the horses ride around it as well.  It is so beautiful and so well done.  Another act that took my breath away was seeing the horses appearing by themselves through the forest.

Odysseo acrobats

The troupe of Ghanian acrobats at Odysseo dance and perform throughout the entire show.

The horses are of course amazing, but I want to give tribute to the Ghanian acrobats as well, who nearly steal the show with their incredible talents.  They flip, flop, handspring, and drum their way through the whole show, having a great time.  During the finale of the show, where the horses are running through the man-made lake, the acrobats also flip through the lake as well, and it’s just astonishing to see them do that.

I was trying to describe the show to a friend, and it’s not quite a circus– it’s a gypsy horse opera, with the kind of  beauty and spectacle that you expect from the opera, but performed by beautiful horses and a gypsy backbeat.

Odysseo- clownlink

The horses of Odysseo at liberty.

All in all this is a fantastic show, well worth seeing, and a show that will inhabit your dreams for a long time to come.

They have a VIP experience of the show, which includes a pre-show buffet, and an after-show tour of the horse stables.

Purchase tickets and get more information about the show here:

See the promo video of the show:

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