Opening Nights: Radio Free Starlight

ZinZanni's latest pricey spectacle.

Story has never been the strength of a Teatro ZinZanni production. It's tough enough to pull off a three-and-a-half-hour dinner show featuring cirque, comedy, and cabaret, so anything short of disaster is a relief, and TZZ's ability to make it look nearly effortless is a credit to its artists. And since its new show, Radio Free Starlight, takes the form of a late-night variety show, it's impossible to speak of plot. Instead, there's just a succession of talented performers: veteran blues singer Duffy Bishop, comedian Joe De Paul, and an international array of circus acts. For some reason or another, this fanciful broadcast also reaches outer space, which attracts an extraterrestrial aerialist (Danielle Rueda-Watts) who seems to be channeling Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element. (Waiter, more wine, please.) More impressive are the acts rounding out the show. Former U.S. National Hula Hoop Champion Mat Plendl puts children on playgrounds across the world to shame with his endlessly swiveling limbs. Austrian yodeling dominatrix (!) Manuela Horn, who towers over the crowd at six-foot-two plus platform heels, is so bizarre that she deserves to be in Ripley's Believe It or Not. But it's Die Maiers, German husband-and-wife comic trapeze duo Yogi Mohr and Sabine Maier, who steal the show with their kooky characters and midair antics. That being said, TZZ is a pricey date. If you're a die-hard fan of cabaret and money isn't an issue, than you're sure to enjoy the hell out of yourself at Radio Free Starlight. Otherwise, wait for your IRS refund and look forward to summer, when TZZ puts together a new and hopefully smoother production that lives up to its previous spectacles.

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