A touch of enchantment lands in Durban in June when the fabulous and unforgettable Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams opens at the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World. The dinner cirque spectacular premieres in the elegant mirror tent Victoria on June 1 with new acts that will astound and amaze, accompanying a decadent four-course feast.
South Africa’s Burlesque sensation is opened by The Little Queen of Tarts, who is a sassy past master at the art of quick change. Rory Avenstrup, the live wire Little Queen of Tarts, holds firm that “dynamite comes in small packages”. As one of the cirque’s anchor performers, Avenstrup is an experienced actress and puppeteer with performances on stage and film. Movie buffs will remember her in Paljas, directed by Katinka Heyns, where she took the role of Solly. “It was submitted to the 70th Oscars for Best Foreign Film, which was very important to me because it meant I was part of the then newly democratic South Africa’s optimistic first submission to the Academy Awards,” Avenstrup said. Another memorable role was in “Woman of Desire” with Bo Derek and Robert Mitchum.
Accompanying her at centre stage is a veritable United Nations of performers with death-defying aerial acts, mind-bending contortions and the most astounding roller-skating performance to be seen anywhere on the globe.
Durban audiences will also welcome back with open arms the Original Tons, who are guaranteed to get any crowd on its feet with their larger-than-life performances. Celebrating the smash hits of Motown and the great disco divas including Aretha Franklin, The Pointer Sisters, The Supremes and Gladys Knight, their performance is funky, foot-stomping and, most of all, the best fun around. The ample Stella Magaba hails from Fort Beaufort and began her auspicious career singing in community choirs. She has several theatre productions and television shows under her belt. The charismatic Lilian Khumalo is from Johannesburg. She “trained as a Cordon Bleu chef and studied HR, PR and marketing” before following her heart to the stage. Gregarious Salome Damon hails from Mitchells Plain in Cape Town and her powerful Tina Turner-inspired voice has been her stock in trade since the tender age of 15.
The stage entertainment is only one aspect of the magical Madame Zingara experience, though. While the acts keep the audience spellbound, head chef Grethel Ferreira’s army of kitchen staff is beavering away at more than 1 500 plates of lovingly prepared food that leave the theatre’s kitchen every night. Start with traditional Mediterranean anti pasti then fall in love with Grethel’s choice of prima piatti, but don’t forget to leave space for the delectable mains, where the Madame’s chocolate chilli fillet always takes centre stage. Then it’s all sweetness and delight as the Trio di Dolcelleti tap dances across your tongue.
Madame Zingara Managing Director Richard Griffin said he was delighted to be taking the Theatre of Dreams back to balmy Durban. “The city has welcomed us with open arms before and this year it will feel like coming home. Everyone involved in the production is raring to go and determined to wow the Zulu Kingdom once again.”
Stepping into Madame Zingara’s antique mirror tent is stepping into a land where reality is suspended, and what is left enchants the senses and delights the heart.
Where: On the grounds of Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World, at the main entrance turn left and be directed to parking lot 3.
When: The dinner circque spectacular runs from June 1 to mid-August, 2011.
To Book: Contact Madame Zingara’s box office on 0861 MADAME or 0861 623 263.
Email enquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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About Madame Zingara:
Originally founded in 2001 by Richard Griffin, Madame Zingara was a capricious 80-seater restaurant nestled in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre. It was well known for its outlandish glitter-dusted service and Richard’s whimsical culinary creations.
Disaster struck in 2006 and the restaurant was burnt to the ground, Unable to rebuilt what was lost, the Zingara family fought back and so the Theatre of Dreams was born – an enthralling traveling dinner cirque extravaganza housed in one of the last remaining antique mirror tents in the world. Enjoying full houses in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, Madame Zingara transformed the concept of dining out in South Africa, earning many accolades and awards along the way.
Being a Cape Town based company, it seemed only right to put down roots and the Zingara Group has lovingly restored and resurrected landmark city restaurants. The Sidewalk Café, Café Mozart, Café Paradiso and The Bombay Bicycle Club which are now all proudly part of the Zingara family.