The elevator doors glide open, revealing a lavish antechamber on the 14th floor of The Cambria Hotel. An eight foot tall, mirrored crescent moon stands guard at the edge of the merch booth doing its best impersonation of a disco ball beneath a lighted Teatro Zinzanni sign. Cases filled with bejeweled crowns, pearl tiaras and Venetian masks adorn the entryway. Crystal chandeliers illuminate vaudeville and circus inspired artwork. Servers don clean blacks accented by red sequins -- some dress their heads with ornate fascinators.
Cambria Hotel has Arranged Every Facet to Deliver Complete Immersion
Inside the Spiegeltent Zazou, guests find their seats and the pre-show antics begin. The tent interior is veiled in varicolored illumination accented by shimmering shards reflecting from disco balls hung high on the ceiling. Performers engage guests with tableside tricks, games and all manner of mischievous interplay.
Between the circular stage which rises from the middle of the floor, the gold covered bandstand and the trapeze, the eye is drawn in many directions -- occasionally all at once. Dynamic lighting cues and expertly engineered sound conspire to create moments that often command the capacity crowd to hush. Performers move with synchronous precision and the band is so tight, they are able to lock in with all kinds of movements -- such as an acrobat’s many sequential somersaults, for an example. This particular reviewer was especially enthralled by Amelia Zirin-Brown’s rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing with a 3/4 Jazz swing. The design of this show is multilayered and demonstrates meticulous coordination.
There is No Fourth Wall
Before the show, the audience is engaged by the performers directly; this also happens during the show. You can find yourself on the stage at some point dancing with Frank Ferrante’s The Cesar or perhaps receiving an operatic serenade from Kelly Britt. you enter the Spiegeltent Zazou you become a part of the show.
A Complete Sensory Experience
LOVE, CHAOS & DINNER works on all of the physical senses to spin its yarn. It is the opinion of this particular reviewer that the pacing of plate service was not ideal to the experience (i.e. main courses arrived at intermission which meant that only a very small portion of the meal could accompany the first act) But when things do line up--like when the two-to-three bite portion of cheesecake drizzled with caramel and topped with caramel popcorn and a hint of salt lands on the table just before an emotion-rich aria begins—you too might well find the experiential effect to be breathtaking.
Who wouldn’t enjoy an evening of uproarious laughter facilitated by renowned performers from around the world, scored by seasoned musicians and accompanied by finely crafted fare! This reviewer found the “thick, al dente spaghetti noodles kissed with fresh basil and tomato ragout” -- the Bucatini Pasta -- absolutely divine! Those who have great difficulty with the possibility of being momentarily placed in the spotlight may wish to proceed with caution.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Cast (In Alphabetical Order)
Fabio and Giuliano Anastasini (Anastasini Brothers)
Joe De Paul
Gamal David Garcia
Duo Rose (Samuel and Sylvia)
Amelia Zirin-Brown (AKA - Rizo)
Founder - Norm Langill
Chef - Debbie Sharpe (“THE GODDESS”)
Thru March 29, 2020
Wednesdays - Sundays at 7pm (w/ cocktail hour at 6pm)
The Spiegeltent ZaZou
Cambria Hotel Chicago
32 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, Il 60601
About the Author:
Spence Warren is a Filmmaker, a Film Worker, A Musician, A Puppet Maker and - apparently - an occasional reviewer. He hopes to offer people - particularly those who love story in all its forms - valuable insight and perspective.