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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 27, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 09
Teatro Zinzanni heats up with 'The Hot Spot'
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Teatro Zinzanni heats up with 'The Hot Spot'

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

'THE HOT SPOT'
TEATRO ZINZANNI
Through June 7


Teatro Zinzanni has become one of the longest running institutions in Seattle - and for good reason. With its combination of circus, cabaret, acrobatics and dinner this theatrical event is an evening of high entertainment and breathtaking acts. Changing their show every three months, the newest presentation is 'The Hot Spot' and it brings the classic styles we have come to expect along with a new talent named Lady Rizo.

The storyline is simplistic but it's a vehicle to connect the immense talent on stage. The Moulin Rouge spielgeltent houses a magical well that grants wishes. The great Chef Caesar (Frank Ferrante) returns to host a ménage of people and assorted personalities. The host of the tent also is a juggler (Joel Salom), the help consists of a toe-tapping couple (the real-life couple Andrea Conway Doba and Wayne Doba), two assistants that prefer to be vertical (Vertical Tango aka Sam Payne and Sandra Feusi), entertainment in Lady Rizo (Amelia Zirin-Brown), and, of course, a wish granting genie (Dreya Weber) trying to grant that one last wish before retirement. Together they present an evening of high fun and entertainment.

Love is the theme (as usual) with Teatro and here there are several love birds finding their winged flight. Frank Ferrante returns as Chef Caesar, a role that Zinzanni veterans should be familiar with. His comic timing is precise and the interactions done with several different audience members is nothing but impeccable. Mr. Ferrante knows his role well, being a reoccurring favorite at Teatro since 2001, and the fun he appears to be having on stage is easily contagious and generously shared throughout the evening. Seattle audiences may also be familiar with his acclaimed one-man-show, 'An Evening with Groucho' presented by Seattle's ACT Theatre.

The host of 'The Hot Spot' is Joel Salom. His juggling expertise in handling glowing balls or lit pins is fantastic to watch! Using slapstick while juggling, the man dresses and undresses while never once missing a thrown object, sometimes to the point of juggling one-handed for an extensive period of time. Caesar's love interest is the genie played by Dreya Weber. First appearing as a humpbacked aged woman, she takes to the suspended ropes shedding her costume to become a vivacious performer. Dancing within the ropes, she performs her own magical illusions, transforming from one appearance to another while suspended above the stage. Not only is Ms. Weber amazing to watch, she is breathtaking to behold. Her work literally has transcended beyond her Teatro performances having choreographed several videos for Michael Jackson, Cher, Madonna and Pink's Grammy performance.

There are two couples that add extra heat to 'The Hot Spot.' The team of Vertical Tango consists of Sam Payne and Sandra Feusi. The work they present defies belief if not gravity. Giving a new definition to the term 'pole dancing' these two literally dance up and down the large tent pole in the center stage. Moving gracefully, they perform an aerial ballet that is astounding, mesmerizing and beautiful to watch. The comedy duo of married couple Andrea Conway Doba and Wayne Doba present the comic relief between the intensity of the other acts. Paying definite homage to the forgotten talents of vaudeville, these two dance, intermingle and play with not only each other but the audience as well. From the moment Ms. Doba speaks in a high-pitched squeak, the audience is left with nothing but to laugh at the team's crazy antics on stage.

The Lady Rizo is making her Seattle debut with The Hot Spot. Slight in appearance this lady opens her mouth and thunder rings through the tent. Her voice is rich with a bluesy-touch making her a combination of Cabaret and Blues reminiscent of the bluesy, sultry sounds of Janis Joplin. Her voice is perfectly situated for the velvety vocals delivered, making anyone interested in her debut solo album, Violet. The Lady Rizo is new to Seattle, and a welcomed addition to Teatro Zinzanni.

The food presented by Teatro Zinzanni is a variety of choices. The appetizer is a chilled, vegetable ratatouille followed by an absolutely delicious golden split pea soup. While not usually a fan of pea soup this was incredible, with credit going to the lime crème added to the soup. Salad is a Caesar (as one can expect) quickly followed by your choice of entrees: Wild Alaskan Halibut, Lamb Chop & Kobe Sirloin Duo, or a vegetarian option of roasted pumpkin/mascarpone ravioli. Dessert is a passion fruit cheesecake. There are other 'optional entrees' for the more picky of eaters. While the food is good, it is wise to remember it is cooked for the masses and that usually means a blander flavor to the menu.

No matter how you look at it Teatro Zinzanni is wonderful entertainment. Go in costume or accessorize your outfit from the many accouterment offered in the gift shop. The bar opens early so you can enjoy your favorite cocktail or one of the crafted house specialty drinks. While the show is 'family oriented,' it is definitely geared to a PG-13 crowd with its humor. Go! Enjoy 'The Hot Spot!' Even if you have enjoyed Teatro Zinzanni before, for some reason 'The Hot Spot' seems to me more enjoyable than other Zinzanni incarnations. And THAT says a lot right there!

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