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Theater Review (Seattle): “Lucky in Love” at Teatro Zinzanni

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Joe De Paul. Photo by Keith Brofsky.

Joe De Paul. Photo by Keith Brofsky.

The stakes aren’t too high in Lucky in Love, the latest entertainment extravaganza under the big top at Teatro Zinzanni, and that’s a good thing. An effortlessly diverting soufflé of a revue, the show is at its best when it dispenses with its shoestring narrative entirely – some half-baked nonsense about a casino that needs a new act and a burglar determined to clean the place out is eventually disposed of in favor of a combination circus/comedy/concert act where no seat is safe from the specter of audience interaction. That’s a big part of what makes a night out at Teatro Zinzanni so fun: even though the show shuffles around familiar elements, there’s always the potential for unpredictability, whether it’s courtesy of a conscripted audience member or cast ad-libbing.

Everyone involved here is a total pro, and the production’s pacing has clearly been refined to perfection, interspersing a nearly nonstop barrage of stimulation with a four-course dinner in an evening where the three-plus hours just fly by. De facto emcee (and co-director) Joe De Paul is a comic dynamo; in an evening of thrilling stunts and amazing physical feats, it’s his humorous interstitials, including a King Kong recreation that’s as hilarious as it is low-concept, that threaten to steal the show.

As casino owner Ruby, blues singer Francine Reed is a commanding presence, with a voice so rich and powerful, I found myself wishing the evening would transition into a concert featuring her alone. Of course, that would have meant missing out on the wholly impressive acrobatic acts: trapeze artists Duo Madrona, contortionist Vita Radionova, and tumbling trio Les Petit Freres, all of whom are in a seeming competition to top one another with their respective acts.

So-called “dinner theater” is of course, hardly considered a respectable player in the theater world, but Teatro ZInzanni’s Lucky in Love is a kind of latter-day vaudevillian spectacular, affably kitschy and altogether entertaining. The show is on stage through Sept. 8. Tickets are available for purchase online.

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About Dusty Somers

Dusty Somers is a Seattle-based editor and writer. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and Seattle Theater Writers.