Photos by Michael Doucett
Review by guest blogger Amanda Mitchell:
“Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos & Dinner!” This production lives up to its succinct name – and so much more!
From the moment we step out of the car into Marymoor Park we are greeted with the warm welcoming ambiance of magical revelry and love – from the parking lot attendant who points out the precarious puddles, to the beautifully costumed hostess who professes we are seated at one of her favorite tables. Personalized salutations of welcoming inclusion and gratitude for attending are extended by every ZinZanni performer/staffer we pass in the lavishly-appointed antique spiegeltent. The love and top-level attention only increase as the evening progresses; we felt like cherished guests from start to finish!
Appetizers await at your table and each subsequent course is served with a flourish by the dancing waitstaff after an energy-fueled introductory song. Chef Jason Wilson’s multi-course menu does not disappoint and is punched full of fall flavor-roasted pumpkin, crispy sage, herbed winter squash, Gremolata mushrooms, wild herb-encrusted salmon and Tagine-style root vegetables: yum-city! There are a few different options, including appetizer and entrée upgrades, to satisfy everyone’s pallet. Save room for the richly divine chocolate cake with dark cherry Ganache and Dulce de Leche.
The real standout treats, however, are the performers: the eclectic cast of over-the-top characters delight and enthrall as their highly-skilled talents are gradually revealed throughout the evening – whether it be surprising magic/illusion, belly-laughing physical comedy, seductive cabaret-singing or enthralling feats of physical prowess. The characters mill about the dining tent pre-show and during the pauses for meal service, engaging guests with flirtatious, playful and improvisational interaction – leaving no dull moments in the entire evening! A loose storyline moves the raucous topsy-turvy action forward and weaves each show-casing vignette seamlessly to the next. Accolades to performer/director Joe De Paul and the whole artistic team for flawless design and execution of the expertly-crafted scenes of chaos, which steadily whip up into a turbulent frenzy only to dissipate in an instant.
The World-class band, comprised of a top-notch percussionist, bass player, keyboardist and multi-talented band-leader (who plays no less than 8 different instruments!), presents tight, flawless accompaniment to the performer’s vocals, and also provides spot-on, wildly-imaginative sound effects for all the chaotic circus-like shenanigans of the evening. Our table is on a raised lip next to the band, granting us a prime view of all; but really there’s no bad seat in the house as the dynamic action flows around (and above!) the circular space and makes wonderful use of it.
One word of caution: if your personal physical boundaries are on the conservative side you may want to let the hostess know when she seats you; otherwise, enjoy the spontaneous performer/audience interactions to their fullest – you could quite easily find yourself part of the zany proceedings.
Part variety/dinner theatre, part cirque, and part psychedelic dreamscape the production is wildly creative and inventive, slightly sexualized and edgy, cheeky, irreverent and unexpected at every turn – It’s all you will talk about on the ride home (and days, weeks, months to follow)!
“Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos and Dinner” plays at Marymoor Park now through April 29, 2018. Tickets are going fast. More info and tickets here.
Photos by Michael Doucett.