Opening Nights: Teatro ZinZanni

This dinner/cabaret's clown prince(ss) is back.

Kevin Kent is back. Again. The Teatro ZinZanni veteran, who has appeared in more than 20 of the company's shows, both here and in San Francisco, stars in the new cabaret License to Kiss as Mr. C, a secret agent whose mission is to protect the recipe for the perfect dessert. Alas, the magic ingredient is stolen, and everybody—in the cast and the audience—becomes a suspect. The interrogation begins.But what if you've already seen Kent dress in drag and ravage unsuspecting audience members? He spends a fair amount of time in this three-hour show storming through the crowd in stilettos, accusing them of being thieves and assassins, and making jokes at their expense. Surely not everyone can be as endlessly amused as I by a six-foot glamazon caressing a bald man's shiny head or calling out a woman on her ample cleavage.Shaking things up are three performers never before seen in the Seattle tent, all of whom just happen to be babes: Local aerialist Kari Podgorski, Swedish acrobat Tobias Larsson, and German singer Sabine Hettlich. Podgorski's sensual midair trapeze routine elicited a drunken cheer from a male audience member, while Larsson, who rode a unicycle across a tightrope dressed as a bear (impressive, albeit weird), was surrounded by female admirers in the lobby post-show. However, it was returning duo Sam Payne and Sandra Feusi who garnered the loudest applause. They stunned everyone with a vertical tango—which is exactly what it sounds like—two people engaging in fancy footwork, dramatic lifts, and passionate embraces using an upright pole as their dance floor. (Turns out pole dancing can be classy.)Teatro ZinZanni changes its show every four months—new acts are intro-duced, old ones move on, and favorites (like Kent) return again...and, well, again. Does it ever get boring? No, judging from the audience response during a recent performance. They clapped merrily along to the music. They raised their glasses high when a cast member proposed a toast to love. Many got out of their seats and slow-danced during an a cappella rendition of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody." So what if some of them are sauced? That ups the entertainment value. Now, if only every wedding had this much zest.

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