Review: “Welcome to Wonderland” at Teatro ZinZanni

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked into my first Teatro Zinzanni performance, Welcome to Wonderland. As you enter the building, I felt embraced by the glitz and splendor of the show. Boas, mardi gras mask, and sequins are a tempting purchase from the gift shop. My awkward introvert date and I decided to grab a drink and wander around the grand Budapest Hotel-like entryway. After a couple of laps- and no sequins purchases, it was time to find our seats. As we walked into the performing space, I was transported into a wonderland circus. Cards, flowers, and a giant pocket watch adorned the 100-year-old tent. I stared at the space in awe; there were so many details to take in before the show.

Featuring Joel Salom (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)
Featuring Joel Salom (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)

The show intertwines with a fantastic 5-course meal. Each course arrives during a short intermission during which the cast makes rounds, adding a personal touch to the show. Each time an actor walked by, my date was the lucky table member. He was their target. He was spanked by the Queen of Hearts, received snark from the Mad Platter, and had his beard brushed out by one of the acrobats.

Featuring Kevin Kent (Photo Credit: Michael Doucett)
Featuring Kevin Kent (Photo Credit: Michael Doucett)

By the end of the show, I had no doubt that every table in the tent was visited by at least one member of the cast. It was a nice compliment to what would stand alone as a very delicious meal. With each course served to the entire audience in minutes, I could not help but be impressed that everything was the right temperature and came as ordered. The complexity of pulling off this kind of service is beyond me, but it must be a challenge, one that was met and accomplished.

Featuring Alya Titarenko and Gael Ouisse (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)
Featuring Alya Titarenko and Gael Ouisse (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)

Teatro Zinzanni pays homage to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland while telling a fresh new story by adding an interesting dimension to the beloved characters. The show is reminiscent of a vaudeville performance- integrating, singing, dancing, improv, acrobats, aerialist and contortionist, all seamlessly integrated into one story.

Featuring Joel Salom (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)
Featuring Joel Salom (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)

The circular structure ensures there’s not a bad seat in the house. The acrobatic feats are impossible to look away from, the athleticism exhibited by the performer’s excited envy and intrigue. The show itself is engaging throughout. Characters all have their hidden talents and in the form of a jam band concert have their solo, their moment in the sun, where they present their skills for the enjoyment of all. Characters like the caterpillar and Alice herself emerge seamlessly from their roles to perform and equally reintegrate into the act. It’s the epitome of talent making something look easy.

Featuring Lea Hinz (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)
Featuring Lea Hinz (Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro)

Teatro Zinzanni offers a truly unique opportunity in a city where a night out can feel like just another version of the same old thing. I recommend that you take a night to break away from the standard dinner and a movie and walk yourself into Wonderland. It will be a night where you disappear into a different world and feel refreshed when you return.

Teatro Zinzanni’s Wonderland will be running until February 26, 2017 and tickets can be purchased here.

WHERE:
Teatro Zinzanni
222 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA 98109
Ph. (206) 802-0015

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