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Zinzanni's 'Gangsters of Love' a Fun Feast

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Duo Madrona in Gangsters of Love (photo by Tracy Martin)

Teatro Zinzanni now has only one location in the entire United States, and that is in Seattle. Their unique blend of acrobatics, song, vaudeville, and audience-interaction dinner still captivates. The company continues its tradition of mounting a new program every three months with the debut of Gangsters of Love, a throwback to around the 1920s.

Francine Reed belts song favorites in a luscious, blues-and-rhythm delivery. And Andrea Conway Doba has that delicious high soprano talking voice that sounds so Betty-Boopish, but trills out a delightful laugh as she teases her real-life husband, Wayne Doba, and flirts with Joe DePaul who plays a rival. The Dobas do a nice turn with tap-dancing and Mrs. gets a bit uppity, as she takes a ride on the chandelier.

The theme of gangsters is sassy and well-integrated, with Frank Ferrante playing the Gangster-in-Chief, with panache and his signature ability to improv with audience members that is some of the best on-the-spot interplay around. (He was also recently seen at ACT Theatre is a one-of-a-kind Groucho Marx revue.)

But you’ll have to wait till almost the end of the long evening to see the most spectacular of acts: Duo Madrona, the married aerialists Ben Wendel and Rachel Mehmer, who are back in town after a few years hanging out in Europe doing their stuff. A lot of acts do one little piece and wait for the applause, then do a slightly harder one and wait, etc. Not so this Duo! One amazing catch and swing after another in a dizzying sequence of the fastest poses you’re likely to ever see. They are a top flight entertainment.

They also help make up for the somewhat less than stellar state of the accompanying dinner, which didn’t live up to past heights. The service is just as fun and swift, but the food is definitely less challenging. It still feels like high end fare, but it’s not as much of the adventure of the experience as it used to be.

For more information, go to dreams.zinzanni.org or call 206-802-0015.