Teatro ZinZanni and Randolph Entertainment presents the Chicago premiere of LOVE, CHAOS & DINNER.
This theatrical experience is an immediate adventure. You have probably passed Cambria Hotel hundreds of times and not noticed it. It’s west of the James Nederlander Theatre nestled between McDonalds and Garret Popcorn. And the lobby is fairly small. The show is on the 14th floor. Stepping off the elevator you step into a Moulin Rouge-like spectacle. Kiosks have beaded and feathered masks for sale. Multiple chandeliers dangle from the ceiling. The staff is dressed in cabaret attire. The look is posh. The vibe is fun. And there is a huge circus tent in the middle of the room.
The tent serves as the restaurant and stage. The interior is elegantly furnished with cozy booths and communal tables. The tent provides an intimate space. Although the show starts at 7pm, performers mingle with early arrivers. A waiter pretends to spill drinks. A maintenance man measures space. Little gag acts are in play around us.
The actual show continues to use all the space… in the aisles, on the table, over head. The performers fill the tent with heaps of entertainment. The circus acts include the the body juggling of the Anastasini Brothers and the dynamic trapeze artistry of Duo Rose. The stunts are even more amazing because the closeness of the venue. At this circus, you are sitting IN the three rings.
Comedy is a big part of this show. Frank Ferrante and Rizo lead the lampoon as hilarious co-hosts. They do interactive bits with audience members. Ferrante is more a buffoon clown from his outrageous look to his over-the-top gestures. And Rizo is more sultry Mae-West-come-up-and-see-me-some-time. Rizo, as does Kelly Britt, also interject beautiful singing throughout the show. The evening is multi-faceted entertainment.
Joe De Paul and Tim Tyler bring the chaos. The duo continually pop-up to do riotous bits. Tyler, in particular, is able to do extraordinary things with his mouth. Whether it’s ping pong balls or crackers, his mouth is a marveling wonder. The pair have plenty of side splitting slapstick.
Dinner is served during pauses in action. It’s a four course meal: appetizer, salad, choice of one of five entrees, and dessert. The food was delicious and ample! We shared short ribs and pasta. Chef Debbie Sharpe from The Goddess and Grocer has created the menu.
Despite the food being tasty, our service wasn’t great. We did arrive early and sat at our table for forty minutes before being greeted. My friend went to the outside bar to get wine twice, pre-show and during the show. Dessert was served without utensils. The show was over. People were leaving. We still didn’t have forks. I ate all my caramel corn off my cheesecake before I received my fork.
The check-out was confusing too. A credit card is initially swiped to cover all drinks, any additional food and $8 service charge per person. It wasn’t explained well and I was uncertain how to tip. Some of our table mates got the wrong bill. The serving logistics need to be as slick as the show. The chaos should be onstage only.
LOVE, CHAOS, & DINNER is a theatrical treat! The live three hour variety show is equally posh, farce and astonishing.
Running Time: Three hours includes dinner
14th floor at Cambria Hotel, 32 W. Randolph
Directed by Norm Langill
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
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