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Review:Teatro Zinzanni and Dinner at Wotan's

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Image credit: Keith Brofsky

Dinner at Wotan’s, Teatro Zinzanni‘s latest production, continues the long line of spectacles and feasts that have earned fifteen years of success for the organization. A five course meal with exquisite wine flight, attentive service, and the wonder of being in the spiegeltent sets the mood. The vaudeville surrounding and permeating every inch of your experience is what makes it memorable. The theme of the show is Norse mythology, in the same sense that the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou is about the Odyssey. That is to say there are liberties, omissions, and a general wave of the hand attitude towards too many specifics, but like O Brother,  it works. Wotan (Geoff Hoyle), Jorgemon (Christopher Phi), Thor (Tobias Larsson), and Loki (Terry Crane), play opposite Fricha (Anki ALbertsson), Freya (Ariana Lallone), and Brunnhilde (Kristin Clayton). Rounding out the cast is the clown troupe Los Excentricos, playing The Dwarves, and Vertical Tango as Balder and Helga. There is some degree of through-story, similar to what you might expect at a ballet.

It’s best to think of the whole Zinzanni experience as an elaborate dance. Sometimes the dance goes on in front of your eyes with brilliant athletes balancing on posts or swinging from the ceiling. At other times during the night the dance is happening with the soup; the green of the chives popping in the muted light of the tent. Later on you’re actually, literally dancing (if you came with a dance partner). At that time, if you’re lucky you’ll see Thor dancing with a grandma. (That was the highlight of the night for me.)

image credit: Keith Brofsky

The other highlight was Christopher Phi. He is a hand balancer, contortionist, aerialist, and a dancer. What he does in Dinner at Wotan’s is a little bit of all of the above. He balanced on what looked like shoehorns at the end of segments of rebar connected to a heavy base. While balancing on one hand he would stretch his entire body in directions human bones shouldn’t bend. It was stunning. There’s something truly remarkable about seeing the culmination of years of dedication and focus in front of you while you are devouring watercress salad with paired wine, or was it the crab wrapped with salmon? Either way, It’s an experience past ages would have reserved for nobility.

Dinner at Wotan’s is running through May 12th. Tickets here.