Last Night: 'Sultry Summer Magic' at SF's Teatro Zinzanni
Ukranian illusionist Eugeniy Voronin in Teatro Zinzanni's "Sultry Summer Magic"
As I sat down to write about it, though, I quickly figured out the answer. Beyond the fact that tickets range from $117 to $167, which means that the attendants are mostly tourists and filthy rich people with whom I don't normally associate, there are two barriers to learning about Zinzanni. The first is that the broad words that likely come to mind to describe it - mysterious! surprising! wondrous! - are practically meaningless. If someone told me that performance was full of mystery and surprise, I probably smiled, ignored that person, and forgot about it.
But the other option - to tell somebody about the specifics - seems an even greater disservice. It would taint the best part of Zinzanni, which is, aside from the incredible talent of its performers, its sheer unpredictability. What is given away and not given away needs careful balancing, perhaps as careful as a performance of, say, the tango on a trapeze (which is, in fact, part of the show).
Food's not half bad, either. The serving of a five course meal - including a starter of local asparagus, a soup, a salad, a choice of entr√©e (go with lamb sirloin if you know what's good for you), and a lemon tart dessert - unfolds along with the drama on stage. And the apparent chef, played by local actor and comedian Michael Davis, often finds his way out of the kitchen to occasionally crack jokes and torment audience members. He's fantastic at this.
The show is stolen and stolen again, and hopefully without divulging too much, I'll reveal its thieves. The Randols - an R-rated roller-skating duo from
Peter Pitofsky's bewildering American clown rounds out the comedy, and the tangoing trapeze artists, Duo Artemiev from
While I can't vouch for those Madams, I can say that all in all, Sultry Summer Magic is the sort of performance that is better than anyone can or should attempt to describe.