Instead of getting complicated with subtext, storyline, and character arcs, Teatro ZinZanni is keeping it lean and mean with its newest creation “Lucky in Love” — and it’s the best production yet. The show on the whole feels tighter — the circus acts are simple yet stupendous, and include tumbling, hula-hooping, balancing, juggling, contortion, and a breathtaking rope and trapeze act.
You will be hard-pressed to pick which performer is your favorite. There is no filler here, folks, every act is in top form. The clowns, hailing from both Ringling and Cirque, are hilarious. You won’t soon forget Joe De Paul’s movie re-enactment, and the audience participation bit in this show is particularly funny. Peter Pitofsky is your classic clown, ready at every moment with a prat fall and a double entendre. Sometimes the performer/audience interactions in between acts can be awkward, but Pitofsky is so casual and delightful, you will be disappointed if he doesn’t visit you.
Sensual Vita as the cat burglar is sexy and suave and her contortion and hula hoop act is sensational. Les Petits Freres at first just seem like a French Laurel and Hardy routine with a mime thrown in, but just wait. Oh, just wait. Founding ZinZanni member Sergiy Krutikov is charming and his remarkable balancing tricks had the audience gasping and cheering. Two biology students-turned-trapeze-whizzes are Duo Madrona and their rope/trapeze act crackles with sensuality.
No ZinZanni show is complete without the chanteuse and boy is Seattle lucky on this count. Francine Reed, mama. Ms. Reed plays Ruby, the no-nonsense proprietress of the nightclub, and she is a blues goddess, swishing around the tent like she owns the place and belting out rockin’ numbers like “Wild Women Never Get the Blues” and crooning “At Last.”
And now for the grub. At first the lack of soup was dismaying (ZinZanni soups are legendary), but the nixing of the extra course actually didn’t impede the enjoyment of the meal at all. The salad, which is usually the low point, is summery and flavorful with juicy heirloom tomatoes. The beef wellington is delicious, tender meat surrounded by flaky crust and bleu cheese, and the pear and gorgonzola pasta entree is also quite wonderful, very delicate in flavor. For an extra $25, you can add the wine flight that pairs perfectly with every course and it is well worth it. Dessert is a perfect portion of pistachio cheesecake in a pool of caramel — and you’ve certainly never had it served to you shot off a ramp propelled by a guy on a bicycle.
Kudos to TZ for trimming down and not forcing a storyline to explain why someone is juggling or doing a handstand. It’s also refreshing to see a whole new line-up, as there have been a few repeats in the last two shows. “Lucky in Love” is an exciting night of performances that will leave you uplifted and invigorated — and happily full. “Lucky in Love” plays through September 8, tickets start at $86.