Last week our massive competition for a night out with MyCityByNight at the Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams Opening Night came to close- with us selecting two winners based on some rather cracking answers as to why they should join us. I had never had an opportunity to experience the festivities of dining in the Spiegel Tent before but had an inclining that if the original Madame Zingara was anything to go by we were in for a magical evening.
The weather on the evening was not typically what you would associate with Spring Day in Cape Town and we were greeted with icy conditions and some rather heavy rain on Thursday night. This unfortunately turned some of the parking lot area into a bit of a swamp- causing tons of laughter as one or two clumsy patrons fell to their death into a mudhole as they were exiting their cars (no-one really died, just to clarify). That didnt really matter, because we were smart and parked on the road- all sneaky like and avoided the swamps all together. Once we were inside, you got the sense that you had been transported into a parallel carney-folk-filled dimension with your senses at central to it’s workings. It was like being in a full gyspy circus- WITHOUT the smelly goats and constant worry of dream-catchers or pickpockets.
On arrival every was greeted by bustling acts as well as a rather tasty little welcome drink… which indicated exactly how this night was going to go… After quenching the thirst we had built up on the drive in to Century City we met up with winners of the competition- introducing ourselves and hoping that we would stick to the gameplan of not embarrasing ourselves or getting too drunk. If only we had managed to execute more than half of that plan…
The food was exceptional as always- with our entire table ordering the Chocolate Chilli Steak (which was always my favourite at the old Zingara) but it is more about the experience of attending the Theatre of Dreams. You feel like you have run away to the circus (or at least sponsor it from afar with your money making you an honorary gypsy) and that you’ve come home for the evening. There is a shop to get any merchandise you feel might add to the excitement of the night or help you to create the allure necessary to bed a fine young mooiness.
The service levels were at such a high standard that no-one waited for their food, was ever parched or lacking anything during the entire evening. All of the waitrons even stay in character, leaving you feeling like you’d forgotten to take that tab of acid out of your juice earlier that day causing you trip out and have a completely whacky time involving pointless conversation with the resident Mad Hatter (who was decidely MAD in the case of Madame Zingara). Almost every act during the show was charged with a definite sexuality that I think was lacking from previous renditions attended by Kreg. The acrobats, singers, actors and contortionists all added to the mystique of the evening and by the end of the night everyone was in a full circus gypsy mood, partying the night away to some suitably gypsy beats under the tent’s roof.
There is with out a doubt, nothing like this anywhere else in South Africa… You haven’t really experienced the eating experience as originally intended until you’ve gone to see the Madame Zingara Theatre of Dreams. Hurry though… Bookings are filling up quickly and you won’t have another chance to check it out for a good couple of years.