I’m sure half of you who are reading this have been to Madame Zingara and the other half of you have had to hear all about Madame Zingara. For YEARS I’ve been listening to the behind the scenes stories of the waiters who worked for the exotic brand. I even went to school next to the first Zingara location that burnt down which was the catalyst to their out door offering. Madame Zingara’s mystery and reputation for entertainment is well known throughout the country yet I’ve only managed to see the show this year.
Unfortunately, the reason why most people are hesitant to visit Zingara is the ticket price. At nearly R500 per person before drinks, it’s rather steep. Having said that if there’s one thing that’s not for students in Cape Town it’s not a bad thing. Now that I’ve attended the show, I’m not sure how they make money! They offered us SO much food and the level of decor, entertainment, numbers of staff as well as the location at the Waterfront, kept me guessing as to where they make profit. But let me start from the beginning…
The Madame Zingara tent is situated at the V&A Waterfront. They did thank the V&A Waterfront for sponsoring them so perhaps they’re not paying rent. It’s easy to find and to park as the Bay Water parking lot is right there as well as the lot opposite the sea. The huge pink MZ, white rhino and pink flamingos jutting out of the bushes are a dead give away as to where the Zingara fun is so it’s easy enough to enter.
From the get go, the Madame Zingara entrance garden is filled with giant sized lollipops, lit up heart for friends and families to use for photographs, an outside bar with bowler hats for lights, a fortune teller and strange characters from the show lurking about. This is also where the performers enter. Unfortunately they were already walking by before I registered that they were the talent. But that’s the Zingara way. Over whelming sights from the moment one enters ensures that you feel swept away and taken to a foreign fantasy land.
Once inside the entrance hall one is greeted with a welcome drink, seemingly a lemon frozen margarita – very fresh and crisp. There is another inside bar for those to use whilst waiting to be seated or directed. There is a golden carriage whipped out of Cinderella’s fairy tale that is parked inside. It had more than a few visitors curious to climb inside but I didn’t dare to even though others did 😉
The tables were beautifully set with cut crystal glass which I had recently been eyeing at @Home. There were red and silver servers placed on the table, little candles and beautiful flowers. These were removed as soon as we were seated which is great. I hate trying to converse with people on the other side of the table through massive bouquets! (Weddings comes to mind here!) Our table was actually on the stage which allowed us to get up close and personal with the performers entering and exiting the stage.
Although there was bread and butter on the table these weren’t the real starters. The actual starters comprised of butternut soup, olives, cashew nuts, bree cheese, hummus, tzatziki, red pepper mousse, cheese sticks, bread and some sort of curried ball. (I’ve had these before but don’t know what they’re called!).
These plates are shared between 2 people so there is more than enough. There was then a second starter served of giant ricotto ravioli with baby spinach and parmesan cheese. These were served just before the first half the show began. Madame Zingara kindly requested that the audience do not to take photographs of the performers which I was happy to respect. Although it was hard not to want to film every act! 😉
THE FIRST THIRD
The stage is set with a beautiful chandelier which was the first prop used by 2 acrobat girls. They were gorgeous in their white leotards as they spun around in unison and used each other as a jungle gym bars to perform various tricks.
Next was a Spanish boy-girl movement dance piece. All the performers have beautiful consumes and each act is the right amount of time. These acts were followed by the MC of the night who was a clown type character. He wasn’t too clowny though. I hate clowns. He was more of a ring leader who sang and entertained than someone who squirts people with water from a collar flower – thank God.
Following the first half the mains were served. Madame Zingara offers the choice of 3 dishes, namely salmon, springbok shank or the Zingara’s signature dish chocolate chilli fillet. I ordered the fillet as when in Rome…and I was already getting really full and didn’t think I’d be able to finish a whole shank!
Whilst the mains were served we were entertained by a large (and gorgeous) drag queen, Captain Cathy, and her “Pacifics”. The four ladies sang Car Wash, These Boots Are Made for Walking and Back To Black whilst the mains were delivered in lightening speed. Apparently they serve 450 people in under 15 minutes. And the food is delicious!
The second third commences with incredible international artists. The first act was a trio of Russian muscle men who balanced on top of one another to make human pyramid type formations. They were incredibly strong and it was riveting to watch. This is followed by a dual Argentinian drummer act.
One of the most startling acts of the night was the bath act. A girl lies in a bath and is wheeled on stage. She then flies above the stage on a rope whilst doing acrobatic moves and swinging her long hair around splashing the audience. Everyone was in good humour about it but I’m glad I wasn’t splashed! She sure did make a mess but with a hot chick in a bath tub, I don’t think many were complaining 😉 The clown then climbs into the bath and snaps everyone out of their fantasy, it was rather humerous.
The second half is then completed by a diva singing South African classics with the Pacifics. This included Mango Groove’s Special Star, the Click song, Mama Temba and Pata Pata if I recall correctly. Of course these up beat well known songs got everyone in an ever better mood and kept the “party” going.
The final course, the desserts, were then served. It was a chocolate platter of a BarOne spring roll, chocolate ice cream, a chocolate torte and a layered chocolate mousse. Although it was delicious, it was a bit much after having a chocoate chillie steak.
The dessert accompanied the third and final act where Cathy sang the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The most intriguing act of the night was an eastern contortionist who came on stage and blew everyone away with her moves. It was followed by a Spanish lady doing a ribbon performance where she climbs to the ceiling and falls down the ribbons she uses as ropes. A beautiful and enthralling performance. A pair of eastern men then do an acrobat show where one lies on his back and the other one somersaults ahead whilst being “pushed” by the horizontal man’s feet. It’s all rather difficult to describe (another reason to go and see it!) but highly entertaining and nail biting.
Cathy and the Pacifics then enter the stage and invite the audience to come on stage and dance the night away. The DJ plays a variety of old and modern songs, the drinks keep flowing and it all wraps up around midnight. Over all it’s absolutely worth the money. As I said, with that amount of food, that level of performers, location, staff rates (I understand they get a very basic, basic but none the less) it’s surprising Zingara makes any money! So find someone to go along with you and go and enjoy the Madame Zingara experience whilst you can. It’s totally worth the money.