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Friday, September 14, 2012


(Singer Carmen Maarmen)

Wacky and joyful celebration of the fun side life offers a magical experience that enthrals, captivates and inspires. (Review by Keith Millar)

The fun starts when you drive into the car park and are met by car guards dressed as court jesters, and it doesn’t end until hours later when you reluctantly leave for home, after an exquisite meal and astonishing entertainment.

The home for Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams is an antique Belgian mirror tent. Resplendent with stained glass windows, warm woodwork, velvet drapes and a multitude of bevelled mirrors, it provides a glittering setting for this unique Dinning and Theatre Cirque experience. On arrival, you are met by a wonderful and zany bevy of characters. Everything from Snow White to skeletons and fairies and Dracula were in attendance. And they entertain all night, dancing around, playing the fool, climbing the tents poles and just plain having fun. Before being seated, drinks are served in the foyer of the tent. This area also houses the Bijoux Boutique where anything from a feather boa to an outlandish wig can be bought to help you feel at home.

We were led to our table by our serving wench – oops, I mean waitress – Xania (even her name suited the event). She looked after us splendidly the entire evening and saw to our every need, even going as far as to coercing us drink a cocktail called a suitcase. This concoction of Jack Daniels and passion fruit is enough to blow the top of your head off.

The entertainment was absolutely spectacular. The magic started with a Chair Stacker who at one point was doing handstands on top of a tower of eight seemingly normal dining room chairs. Then came the aerial performances of Sam and Christine. They offered three spellbinding routines, which included swinging from the chandelier, a scarf act and a very sensual bath act.

Three very powerfully built young men from Russia performed an act of amazing acrobatic strength which was both graceful and spectacular. Ziggy from Mongolia is next. She is a contortionist who is able to contort her body in the most inconceivable ways. The circus acts were rounded off by three very talented rope skippers and break dancers from Cape Town.

The music was provided by Carmen Maarmen and Stella Magaba who, along with three very accomplished backing vocalists, perform everything from the Andrew Sisters to Motown with energy and charm.

Finally there is the dynamic and hilarious Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Cool C, who is a supreme entertainer. He had the audience eating out of his hand. After the show has ended, the music goes on for the audience to dance the night away.

And then there was the food. This was a meal to remember and savour. On arrival we were served a platter of Moroccan delicacies and a spinach and butternut soup which was quite superb. Then a ravioli starter which, again, was exceptional. The main course was a choice of the Madame Zingara signature dish Chocolate Chili Fillet, Wellington of Lamb, Sesame Crusted Salmon and an aubergine and risotto cake dish for the vegetarians. I had the Salmon which was very good while my wife opted for the chocolate chili fillet, which she raved about. My sample tasting confirmed her enthusiasm. Another guest at our table was equally complimentary about the lamb. All the dishes were beautifully presented and served with gusto and efficiency by the zany characters and waiters. The meal was rounded off by a trio of deserts which were also delectable, if a little on the small side.

So, all in all, a night out at Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams is a magical experience that enthrals, captivates and inspires. It is a wacky and joyful celebration of the fun side life.

Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams is located in the grounds of the Suncoast Casino. It will be in Durban until December 31 with shows at 19h00 every Tuesday to Saturday. Tickets range from R410 to R495 and include welcome drinks and the four-course dinner. Bookings ONLY at Madame Zingara call centre on 0861 623 263. – Keith Millar

(NB: While there is no age restriction, children under 13 generally get restless and some content of the show may require parental guidance - PG rating)