Teatro ZinZanni opened its newest show last weekend, "Hail Caeser! Forbidden Oasis." While the show as a whole is not the strongest ZinZanni offering this year, the individual performances are worth more than the sum of their parts.
There is an old school, classic Hollywood feel to the talent in this particular show, which might have been a better suited theme than the Arabian/Greek backdrop. Frank Ferrante as "Caeser," and our hilarious host, is such a doll. He is the kind of relative you wish you had at holiday gatherings because he makes every scene a riot. He oozes charm, schmoozing and energizing the guests and waggling his Groucho eyebrows. He enjoyed a stint as the famous Marx brother in "Groucho: A Life in Revue" in New York, and recently starred at ACT's "An Evening with Groucho." A taste of Marx definitely permeates Ferrante's Caeser.
The vaudevillian couple Andrea Conway Doba and Wayne Doba delight the audience with their alter-egos, the squeaky-laughed Mitzi and trombone-playing Dick. Their act is basically what would happen if Fred Mertz and Olive Oil decided to work together, loaded with an enviable arsenal of marriage jokes. Mitzi scales chandeliers and dances like a old time Broadway hoofer and Dick is adorable crooner. Their phenomenal Fred and Ginger tap routine is inarguably the highlight of the night.
Duo Madrona with their sexy trapeze act and Vita with her incredible hula hoop act are back from the previous ZinZanni show, "Lucky in Love," and are completely worth seeing again. Les Petits Freres have also returned, and are as charming and acrobatic as ever. Their lines are a little difficult to understand due to their accents, but it kind of doesn't matter because there's really not much to follow and physical comedy and slapstick is more the name of their game. Award-winning actress and aerialist Dreya Weber plays "Cleo" in the usual chanteuse slot, although she is not the strongest vocalist. Her real contribution to the show became clear when she took to the sky with a stunning cat's cradle aerial act.
The dinner was good, one of the many benefits of the turning of the seasons is the return of the ZinZanni soup, this time a velvety Egyptian lentil. The halibut is delicately spiced and perfectly cooked and the root vegetable side, also included with the kurobuta pork chop dinner option, is unique and refreshing. The dessert is a deliciously sticky peach baklava.
All and all, it's hard to have a bad experience at Teatro ZinZanni. "Forbidden Oasis" may not be your favorite skin, so to speak, for the ZinZanni experience, but it's still filled with all the wonderful Easter eggs that audiences have come to expect and love. "Hail Caeser! Forbidden Oasis" plays through January 28th, tickets start at $108.