Teatro ZinZanni's Circus Tent

Review: Teatro ZinZanni’s Love, Chaos & Dinner Does Not Disappoint

Teatro ZinZanni's Circus Tent
Inside Teatro ZinZanni’s Spiegeltent. (Teatro ZinZanni)

Teatro ZinZanni’s dinner theatre show’s name is also the same phrase they use to describe their shows. Love, Chaos and Dinner is a healthy mix of hilarious humor and beautiful performances and the food is pretty wonderful too. The large ensemble cast interacts with guest within the Spiegeltent before the show. They mix and mingle with the dining staff and often act incognito so that until the show actually begins, you may not be aware who all is performing in the show.

Frank Ferrante (Chef Caesar) and Amelia Zirin-Brown (Lady Rizo)

Featuring a live, albeit small, orchestra, Love, Chaos and Dinner is led by two larger-than-life characters: Frank Ferrante and Amelia Zirin-Brown. Outside of Teatro ZinZanni, Ferrante has performed as Groucho Marx over 2,500 times and the influence shows as he plays Chef Caesar for night. Performing as Lady Rizo, Zirin-Brown is a comedienne and singer. She’s one powerhouse of a singer alternating between musical numbers of yesteryear and more modern rock ballads.

Throughout the night, both Caesar and Lady Rizzo take time to call members of the audience to come forth and be teased. And they both flirt with everyone. While their style of teasing is similar, Caesar’s comes off as playful while Lady Rizo’s breathy lines and raunchy one-liners comes across a bit harsh and off-putting. Don’t get me wrong, she is very talented with an incredible voice and the two work very well with their “Martini Time” bit, but by herself, she is a bit much.

Chef Jason Wilson

The entertainment happens in between the four course dinner which includes salad, soup, four main course choices and dessert by James Beard Award-winning Chef Jason Wilson. I highly recommend the Grilled Washington Sirloin as it was cooked to perfection and just about melted in my mouth. (Click here to see the full menu.) A variety of appetizers, wines, hard liquor and soft drinks are on hand as well.

Top Row: The Anastasini Brothers and Elena Gatilova
Middle Row: Tim Tyler, Duo Rose and Joe De Paul
Bottom Row: Domitil Aillot and Kelly Brit

Each night of performances runs about three hours, but the time will fly by and a good time will be had my all. From the elegant acrobatic acts to the chaos that comes with dessert, every moment is full of surprises. Performing during Love, Chaos and Dinner include:

The Anastasini Brothers
Some people can juggle balls, but can you juggle your sibling? Fabio and Giuliano Anastasini are making their circus-performing parents proud with their body juggling act. The entire act is great but the finale is nothing short of breathtaking. The concept is simple – one brother lays on his back while he hurls his brother in the air with his feet.

Kelly Britt
Hailing from Chicago, Kelly Britt has performed opera and musical theatre throughout the Midwest and west coast, but what makes her a fit for Teatro ZinZanni is her family’s over 300 years of circus performing! Perhaps though her greatest talent is her smile. While I’m not usually a fan of opera, she is truly charming in this show.

Joe De Paul and Tim Tyler
Canadian actor and clown, Joe De Paul is one of my favorites and was so glad to see some of his signature acts again at Teatro ZinZanni. His laughter is contagious. Just wait until he brings out his film projector as you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. Joe is very short and Tim Tyler is a bean pole (his words) so the contrast of these two is fantastic. They both have a similar style of humor and they complement each other rather nicely. Going by the stage of Mr. P.P., Tim is a jack of all trades when it comes to performing. The Australian can sing, play the ukulele and make ping pong balls appear out of his mouth at random times.

Duo Rose
Samuel and Sylvia present a romantic trapeze act that is truly spectacular. The pair have been performing together since 2007 have created every aspect of their act from the costumes to the “aerial ballet” completely on their own. They are amazingly flexible and their performance is what I would call tastefully sensual.

Elena Gatilova
World champion rhythmic gymnast, Elena performed with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas performing in over 2,500 shows. She has a great time playing a silly and unglamorous character before performing her solo act. There she comes alive with grace and elegance. It is truly the most beautiful act of the show.

Domitil Aillot
French artist Domitil Aillot usually performs on the Chinese Pole performing acrobatic feats. For the performance I attended, he was part of the group, but didn’t perform solo which I can only assume was because he had become injured recently. I have seen him perform many times in the past and I can attest that he is pretty amazing.

Love, Chaos and Dinner performs every night Tuesday-Sunday through June 30, 2019. Click here for ticket information and more.

Teatro ZinZanni’s Love, Chaos and Dinner

Who made the salad? Frank Ferrante as Chef Caesar. (Teatro ZinZanni)

If you haven’t been by the Seattle Center in a while, you might be surprised to learn that the Teatro ZinZanni spiegeltent has moved and has set up shop in Woodinville as the company’s new permanent home. And while it will take a while for the renovations to be complete, the show must go on.

The current show, Love, Chaos and Dinner, brings back Frank Ferrante as the lovable Chef Caesar (relax, James Beard Award-winning Chef Jason Wilson will actually oversee the cooking) and a bunch of friends to the tent performing music, comedy and acrobatic feats in-between a four-course meal. Teatro ZinZanni says that Chef Caesar will be presenting his “one-of-a-kind epicurean delights paired perfectly with the sumptuous and sizzling vocal stylings of Lady Rizo (Amelia Zirin-Brown).” Also along for the show are a “cadre of talented servers who juggle far more than plates, an alluring hostess bending over backwards for her guests, and a sommelier with refined tastes who takes the art of flirtation to new heights.”

In addition to Ferrante and Zirin-Brown, the show also features acrobat Domitil Aillot, body jugglers Fabio and Giuliano Anastaini, opera singer Kelly Britt, comedian Joe De Paul, aerial artists Duo Rose, rhythmic gymnast Elena Gatilova and musical comedian Tim Tyler.

Chef Jason Wilson is owner of The Lakehouse restaurant and Civility & Unrest cocktail bar in Bellevue and Miller’s Guild in Seattle. His menu for each performance includes:

Seasonal Vegetable Salad (with romaine lettuce, baby spinach, olive, watermelon radish, cucumber, snap pea, cherry tomato, red bell pepper and green chickpea)

Grilled Tomato and Smoked Pepper Bisque

A choice of:
Grilled Spiced Yellowfin Tuna (with spring pea, carrot and mint couscous, watermelon radish)
Grilled Washington Sirloin (with potato whip, grilled asparagus, red wine demi-glace and kale pesto)
Goat Cheese Ravioli (with grilled Portobello mushroom, asparagus and kale pesto)
Curried Cauliflower Steak (with pumpkin mustard, apple salsa and truffle oil)

Lemon Curd Tartlet (with fresh berries and mint)

Love, Chaos and Dinner is currently playing through June 30 before the crew packs up and heads off to Chicago. Tickets start at $99. Tickets can be purchased online or can be ordered by phone by calling the box office at 206.802.0015. Teatro ZinZanni is located at 14200 NE 145th St., Woodinville 98072.