Madame Zingara: a celebration of excellence

By Laurie Scarborough


Madame Zingara’s has been around for no less than 15 years, and their newest show, The Celebration, is just as good as it’s always been.

The night started with a greeting from a very small, afro-adorned man in tails. Now people, I’m small, but this man came up to my waist. That was the first indication that the night would celebrate all who are different and extraordinary.

Once inside we were served canapés and cocktails by people dressed as bell boys. You could wander around through the trinket shops and buy anything from a top hat to incense, anything to put you in the mood for a circus extraordinaire.

We were then escorted to our seats inside the tent by a waitress dressed as a penguin, complete with a beak and a fat suit (think the Mary Poppins dancing penguin variety). And when I say tent, I use the term lightly. This is no normal circus tent or some little camping apparatus – this is the type of tent you get in Harry Potter, and I love me some Harry Potter. There were stained glass windows and lush red drapes, medieval-looking balconies, mirror-decorated pillars.

Our bubbly waitress listed our meal choices for the three-course meal, and the choice left me with some very difficult decisions: chocolate-chillie steak, lamb shank, norwegian salmon, stuffed chicken. Mmm. I’m drooling a bit…

We were guided through the evening’s entertainment by Cathy Specific who also treated us to a few songs and some Rocky Horror numbers. The entertainment was interspersed with the meals, and they had everything from aerial acts, to comedy, singing and music, to contortionists. After each act (comprising of three or four performances), a foursome of Supreme-style singers took to the stage to keep the ambience just right as we were served the mouth-watering food.

Between the acts the artists mingled between the tables dresses as swans, human lamp shades, spartan warriors, french workmen, or soldiers. The detail in even the waiters’ costumes was superb and you could never be bored if you just cast your eyes around the tent.

For me the highlight of the night was a truly amazing aerial-pole dancer. He swung around on a long pole hanging from the roof. I had never seen anything like it before, gracefully transitioning into gravity defying positions and gliding over the audience holding his pole with one hand. And his final move (hurtling himself at the pole and grabbing it with his legs as he jumped toward the audience) had everyone gasping in fear and delight.

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I even spotted American actor-singer-dancers Skylar Astin and Anna Camp, of recent Pitch Perfect fame, in the audience (big fan, big fan), proving that this South African entertainment experience is worthy of its international acclaim.

The evening ended with a delicious three-part dessert and some dancing which rounded off the excellent evening with a flourish.

If you want to book tickets (and you should want to book tickets) you can buy them here.


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