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‘Dinner at Wotan’s’ is a Hit with Audiences of All Ages

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Photo by Keith Brofsky.
Photo by Keith Brofsky.

If you have ever wanted to check out Teatro Zinzanni but could not line up a babysitter, the special matinee performances of Teatro Zinzanni’s current production, Dinner at Wotan’s are the perfect answer for you. The matinees are two-and-a-half hours long with a sumptuous four-course meal, whereas the normal evening performances are three hours long and feature a five-course meal. For children twelve and under, Zinzanni offers a special kid-friendly menu. I brought my five and three year old children, and even my pickiest eater loved the kids’ meal. While my husband and I ate our salad course, the girls ate a fruit and yogurt salad because I don’t know about your kids, but my children wouldn’t eat watercress if it were the last edible item on earth.

Even though I thought the matinee performance was fine for kids, Dinner at Wotan’s is not a children’s show. The midday shows are simply a little shorter, but they contain most of the same acts as the evening shows and are not specifically geared towards little ones, unlike the Teatro Zinzanni kid’s concerts and circus shows featuring kindiependent musical groups. I should also note that with audience participation and the improvisational nature of the show, there may be risqué references and innuendos, although such topics were mild in the show I attended, and the dialog went completely over the heads of the younger attendees.

Dinner at Wotan’s follows the exploits of the Norse gods as they party on towards Ragnarok, their ultimate battle. Along the way, we are entertained by singing, dancing, acrobatics, contortions, and comedy with a musical score combining opera (Wagner’s ‘Ring,’ naturally), ‘80’s rock, and ABBA, because every show should have ABBA.

There were no weak acts, so I will mention a few standouts. Geoff Hoyle (played Wotan through March 24, 2013) is a brilliant improv comic perfectly reading the crowd and selecting his targets. He even yanked my husband on stage, so I know for a fact that he did not use plants in the audience. Anki Albertsson’s (Frieha) voice is rich and powerful, and her singing is a delight. I am not normally a fan of clowns, but Los Excéntricos are engaging, funny, and tremendously talented, and I particularly enjoyed their number where they played bells. Vertical Tango (Sam Payne as Balder and Sandra Feusi as Helga) brought the house down. They dance together vertically while climbing up a pole and using their bodies in ways that defy the laws of physics. Their raw strength and grace create a jaw-droppingly beautiful piece that must be seen to be believed.

Dinner at Wotan’s plays at Teatro Zinzanni through May 12, 2013, with matinees on Sunday, April 14, 2013, and Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013.