|Lady Rizo as the Red Queen (Alan Alabastro)|
Welcome to Wonderland
Through February 26, 2017
An inventive new storyline is now playing at Teatro Zinzanni. They’ve chosen an Alice in Wonderland theme for their newest dinner/show and in a Zinzanni kind of way, they keep the magical and mystical flavor of that story, as well.
Economics has clearly put some pressure on the speigeltent folks. They’ve apparently realized that it’s enormously expensive to change all the characters and themes every three months and have decided to elongate the run of a show. That is simply smart, and it also allows for more thinking and planning and a smarter execution of a concept.
In this adorable show, Lewis and Carol (get it?), a sweet couple of innocence, get lost in Wonderland and find themselves separated while the Red Queen Rizo tries to cut off their heads. Of course there is the ubiquitous “just missing them” routine, and this Queen is not so hard-hearted that she won’t stop to let people eat soup or supper.
The costuming, as usual, is a wonderful representation of Beauty-and-the-Beast similarities of over-sized spoons and teacups and includes a smoky Caterpillar and giant playing cards. Kevin Kent, an audience favorite who will definitely interrupt your dinner if he can, becomes an odd combination of White Rabbit and Mad Hatter character who is actually involved in some revolution against the Queen. You might be recruited for the opposition.
Lady Rizo (aka Amelia Zirin-Brown) gets a lot more attention than the usual Madam-host, and her powerhouse vocals are put to great use. Whether it’s intentional or not, her wig and persona feel very much like Zinzanni imported Lady Gaga to the tent. If she’s not careful, in one of her fits of rage, she might pull the tent down around your ears!
They are aided by juggler/funnyman Joel Salom, aerial and contortionist Lea Hinz, acrobats and balancers Alya Titarenko and Gael Ouisse, and Duo Madrona featuring Rachel Nehmer and Ben Wendel, who continue to add versatile talent (singing, acting, trapeze acrobatics) to their 10th show at Zinzanni.
They all have the Zinzanni formula down pat and continue to give every guest the best time. The servers/ensemble can adjust an order on the fly, find substitutions for picky eaters, and still perform choreography before serving.
I continue to wish the food were hotter and more interesting, mourning just a bit the higher quality of years past. But the steak is quite melty. For such a high quality professional variety show, with a filling meal, it’s really a great value for the price.