I’ve put this under show reviews although the experience is so much more than that. Four of us went to Madame Zingara’s Spiegeltent, for Theatre of Dreams last night. And it was brilliant. There are not so many weeks left before it flies (by hot-air balloon, according to The Bizarre Times) to Jozi, and I am sure tickets are already really hard to come by, but if you can, then do.
I’d noticed the tent from the highway and from the outside it looks like…a tent! I’ve been wanting to see the show for ages because of our upcoming show, A Circus Side Show, but it took me ages to get it together.
So, last night Big Friendly and I drove into the parking lot, waved in by red liveried attendants and were welcomed at the entrance of the tent by a huge neon heart. One of my best things was the rose petals scattered at the entrance, a tell-tale signature of Richard, the brainchild and boss of the whole thing, who used to scatter petals in Long Street at my all time favourite restaurant Serendipity. After last night Richard has become my hero. Big time. He has got it on the nose.
So, we were ushered in by a motley crew of waitresses, man-on-stilts, clown, and door person and given pretty pink drinks at the door. I must admit I was overawed by the scale of it in the beginning. So many tables, so many people, so much everything. We were shown to our table, where we could sit and just look. It really is magical. The stained glass window walls, the cherub light fittings, the dome of the big top, the costumes of the waitrons, every detail has been thought out and taken care of.
How it works is, snacks are served, the show begins with a few acts, starters are served, more acts follow, mains are served and more acts follow, coffee and desert are accompanied by more acts. Awesome.
The food was good. I was amazed. It seemed an impossible task to get everyone fed. Our only bitch was that the coffee was stone cold. In fact, other than the soup, everything was not very hot. But hey. Let that be my biggest complaint.
The performances were stunning. The venue and style of the whole place suit the host Irit Noble magnificently. I have never seen her this gorgeous, full of love, and so in voice ever before. She was made for Theatre of Dreams. Three tons of fun did their marvelous motown stuff and they are diva-ine. The arial acts were breathtaking. It helps that they must be some of the sexiest people alive! They did a ring act, tandem rope act, tandem girl triangle thing and a scarf act. The music was fabulous. Even the clown and side-kick (generally not my favourite part of the circus) were great.
Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams is a well-oiled Magic Machine. There is a little party shop that did a roaring trade in hats, masks, halos, wigs, horn alice bands, and those huge plastic sunnies from the seventies. It seemed the whole audience chose the time to get away from themselves. Isn’t that what theatre is all about?
What a genuis visionary, Richard. Well done. I was so impressed to see him all over the shop the whole evening and was delighted to smash into him as we were leaving. It’s a huge, huge thing he has undertaken and it is magnificent.
In a city (and country) where it’s a constant struggle to get bums on seats in a live performance, Madame Zingara has struck gold. The phoenix has risen from the ashes of the sad, sad fire that took the restaurant and magic has been born.