Teatro ZinZanni performers deliver a wonderful mix of outrageous humor, acrobatic talent and subtle political wit in the new show, “Caliente,” playing through June 10.
The show, directed by Ricardo Salinas, tells the story of a greedy developer who tries to sell the Teatro ZinZanni tent. When hearing about the planned closure, the circus chefs, janitors and other forgotten folks resist their pink slips and instead headline their own show for the last night. In seeing the crew’s wonderful spirit, the developer grows so fond of the tent that he decides not to sell it but to join it.
The show pays homage to the recent “Occupy” movements. The “back-of-house” workers protest the tent being sold with signs saying, “We are the 99 percent.”
Salinas pokes fun at how society can ignore the Latin community, despite its being such a growing ethnic group in this country.
“We are in America. Speak Spanish!” yell Tres and Cinco, played by Christine Deaver and Robert Lopez.
Together they create a hilariously odd couple. The sassy, longwinded Tres stands about a foot taller than her tiny supposed-brother, Cinco. The two look about as related as a cat and a frog.
Deaver delivers a larger-than-life Latin character, who in being so overtly exaggerated, avoids being offensive.
The show pokes fun at Latin stereotypes while incorporating audience participation. Midway through the show, Deaver and Lopez search the audience for the “spiciest” individual. After choosing a guy from the audience, they dress him in a sombrero, mustache and poncho and make him prove his manliness by downing Tequila and blowing on a trumpet.
When Tres and Cinco aren’t gallivanting around the stage, acrobats perform awe-inspiring acts on an elevated stage in the center of the tent.
Vita Radionova, playing the role of Suzanna, brings an alluring hula-hooping act. She manages to handle up to 20 hula-hoops at the same time on her tiny torso. The act ends with her catching hula-hoops from across the tent until there seems to be no more room on her body for another hoop.
She returns later for a sensual dance with Mickael Bajazet, who plays the part of Coco. They seamlessly integrate ballroom dancing with acrobatic partner work.
Mickael Bajazet returns later with Gregory Marquet to perform a quirky song and dance number. The two playfully compete for the microphone as they accent the song’s drumbeat with Elvis-like hip movements.
Like many Latin variety shows, “Caliente” has a Flamenco act. Ann Bernard, playing the role of Anita, creates intricate rhythms with her feet and bolas, which she flings around herself at a whirling speed. All the while she maintains a cute, dorky persona by giggling and staring at the audience with wide, mischievous eyes.
Bajazet and Marquet return with Domitil Aillot to perform a tumbling act as Les Petits Freres, an ultimate crowd-pleaser. They perform flips over one another in perfect timing. They end with a death-defying fall out of a three-person human tower.
For those who haven’t heard of Teatro ZinZanni, it is a dinner theater. The servers add to the show by introducing each new course with a cute mini-dance number. The dining and entertainment experiences are seamlessly integrated.
For an outrageous mix of acrobatics, comedic acting and audience participation along with a five-course meal, head to “Caliente.” The characters are over-the-top yet endearing and lovable, ensuring an enjoyable experience for the audience. For tickets go to tzseattle-tickets.zinzanni.org.