Madame Zingara’s …. the wonder, the sheer wonder will make the child in you laugh ….

It’s one of those things I have always been meaning to go to, and for a variety of reasons just never got to.

On Tuesday night I was fortunate enough to be invited to Madame Zingara’s.  {this post is very delayed so my Tuesday is a good month ago ….. but anyway}

Last week I phoned my friend Thelma who is a MZ veteran and asked her: “what do I need to know — I don’t want to arrive and then go *facepalm* I wish I had known XYZ…”

Thelma said it was incredible and I was going to have the best time.  I should wear black, not worry too much about dressing up and visit the “shop” at Madame Zingara’s and I could buy what ever I wanted to jazz up my outfit.

She also advised there was face painting and again gasped that I was going to have such a good time.

I followed her advise to the letter.

My partner Wayne arranged that we had a chaffeur to drive us home at the end of the evening, so that little matter of drinking (and driving) was not going to be an issue.

The only “minor hitch” was when I received a message from him at 16h30 saying we should leave at 17h30.   Of the day of Madame Zingara’s.

I am not a lass that needs extensive time to get ready – I can be showered, throw some makeup on, clothing and what ever and be out the door in say 20 minutes.

At 16h30 I was not even fetching kids yet – the short of it was that at 17h17 I was still in the car trying to get home.  At this point I was doing that slow quick degeneration into that screaming, ranting, freaking out person who needs to get home and at the same time travel back in time if there was going to be any chance of me making it on time.

I was late – we left at 18h00 – I only got home after 17h30 – so bathed, dressed, makeup sort of loosely thrown in the general direction of my face and then rushed out the door.  I think when I arrived I looked a little frazzled and demented …. and my pupils had contracted into small points of black ……

Madame Zingara have set up tent on the Grand Parade in Cape Town {tent not seen in this picture}.

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We arrived, got parking really close to the door, which was a godsend as I had managed to wear the prettiest but most uncomfortable pair of shoes in my wardrobe.  You know the pair where your left foot is so comfortable it keeps telling you it is in heaven, whilst your right foot is trying to understand why you have folded it into the Lotus foot position used extensive in China for several centuries.

I kind of limped to the door and then fell in — there is always a step that I don’t see.

From the moment we arrived, I knew this was going to be jaw dropping.  And it was.

The person who greeted me at the door like we were old friends was the smallest “little person” I have ever seen.  He was smiling and jolly, in an extravagant suit with the biggest afro I have ever seen on anyone, bar none.   That gave me a fairly good suggestion that this was not going to be a normal evening.

It is like the circus.  But for adults.

I stumbled around with my lower jaw sort of hanging about, whilst my eyes were flying around the interior.  I cannot actually describe it sufficiently well to do it justice.  I took some photographs, but I look at them now and keep going “no, but it’s not like this it is just so much more….”

It is as if everyone — all the staff — are part of this stage performance and remain in character throughout the event.  Even though they are not on stage, they help to create this sense of fantasy and splendor.

There were various bar areas, the furniture and the drapery were all heavy textured and mainly velvet to the touch.  The tent is like a huge magic area where you are dropped into this fantasy world where everyone is a cast member in one way or another.

No detail was left unattended – every area is a feast for the eyes and if you are in anyway into fantasy, and being carried away to another world, then this is the place for you.  Things are hidden away so you keep discovering them.

My friend had been correct about the MZ shop – and what I thought was without a doubt the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen were the hats.  Not the standard top hat and others that you could buy, but the ones that were supplied by The Little Hattery in Cape Town.

I saw a hat that had the DieselPunk theme to it and you know when you see something, and it doesn’t matter if they are going to charge you three mortgage installments, you just must have it.

These hats were that.

The store had masks, and feather boas and for some unknown reason a plastic pig that made a real sounding pig snort when you compressed it.

I am very disappointed I did not buy that pig.  It’s the kind of thing you would keep on your desk, your friends would covet it, and every time you pressed him and he made that pig snort you would smile.

Other than that minor disappointment – the evening was beyond splendid.

Our table was right in front – we could not have had better seats if we actually sat on stage.  We were served by a waiter dressed as a penguin.

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I am not sure of the last time when I have been so entirely happy.

Bob our Penguin waiter (seen above) served us, and he was without a doubt exceptional.  He was familiar and professional, and again just added to everything that was going on.  They had a good wine list and there was some great wine on offer.

Bob told us the tent seats 650 people.  That is huge – the kitchen managed to supply food out at a good pace.  You cannot believe when you are looking at it that this is a tent …. defies the imagination.

We had three choices for starters, and 5 choices for main.  I had a salad that made my toes (only in my left foot) curl and a lamb shank that was melt in the mouth.

I forgot to eat my dessert —- I didn’t even touch it, there was just so much going on at that point that I could not take the time to look down long enough to spoon dessert in {I realise how unlikely that sounds …… its dessert ……. make time …….}

The show was without knowing the right words to use the most incredible thing I have ever seen.  The acts were clever and funny and again, you were filled with this sense of childlike wonder.

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{this photograph was taken from our table —- it’s a bit shaky partly because this guy was heading straight for our table —— and I was trying to hold the camera and save the wine}

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There were people lavishly attired that would move around the room – for no other reason than to create points of interest.  At no point were you ever left to just sit there and go “okay so when it something starting”  there was always something going on.  Granted I was not always sure exactly what was happening …. but there was always something to draw your eye to.

At one point a line of 8 – 10 people dressed as what I thought might be intricate desk lamps came along and walked through the room whilst we were eating.

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I have no idea what they were doing — they were just being desk lamps and then they exited the room and we never saw them again.

A huge rabbit — like the card rabbits from Alice in Wonderland came walking through.  You know as you do.  He was perfectly the way you would imagine a giant rabbit that had just stepped out of Alice in Wonderland to appear.  He was THAT rabbit.

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I do realise that at the point in the evening when you are seeing 1.8 metre rabbits walking around is normally when you need to ring for your taxi, but it was that sort of evening.

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A large rabbit was just a a rabbit — he walked around a bit, then disappeared.

The show was on the stage, but all the staff seemed to be playing a part in keeping this wild and fantastic world alive for us their guests.

I went to the bathroom at one point — it was freezing outside — there was a guy painted gold, pretty much naked other than his roman skirt, boots and helmet just standing there.  It was really cold — this guy had a nipple stand you could scratch paint off a car with.  He was just standing there on a pedestal, as people were sneaking out for a cigarette or going to the bathroom.

Even your trip to the bathroom kept you in the same frame of mind so that when you got back to the table, you were still all wide eyed and blinking a great deal saying things like “did you just see that….”

The entire evening was easily one of the best evenings I have ever attended.  There was nothing I would change, or make better.

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{That is our wine and wine holder in the foreground of the picture —– that is how close we were to the stage}

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Oooohhh I forgot, as we entered there were these glamourous waitresses with “free drinks” – I tend to like to choose my drinks so tend to avoid these suprise mixes, but they looked so interesting and were like mini slush puppies.

Then I had one – six later I was telling everyone that these were the best things I have ever had.  Strangers were being told that this was the best drink I had ever had.

I asked the bartender and he said it was vodka, triple sec, lime, grape juice and I think there was something else, which I can’t recall.  They had then put them in ice like you would a slush puppy.

And gave you a little black straw.  Excuse me whilst I lose my last shred of self control.

Like everything else, no detail was left unattended to.

The night was glorious.  Something that will remain with me for years to come.

I do miss the pig I left behind though.  I think he misses me too.

Well done Madame Zingara – the cast, the staff and especially Penguin Bob our waiter was brilliant.

We loved the evening, loved every part of the show — both the one on the stage, and the one that was happening in every inch of the tent.

Also a real round of applause to the face painters — they paint your face in 5 minutes (less probably) — you sit there and think “what finished already” and then he holds up a mirror and you are ….. how the hell did that get there so quickly.  Just more gorgeousness.  They were incredible!

Madame Zingara — sell a kidney, go, go, go —–get tickets —— it is like every strange and wonderful thing you have ever thought of being in one giant lavish gorgeous tent.

And there are penguins as waiters.

{this is not a sponsored post – we bought tickets and paid for everything on the evening — if you discount the free slush puppy vodka numbers, those we did not pay for ….. and I lost count of how many I actually had which may explain why I can’t recall all the ingredients ….. if you happen to know what they are, please let me know, I need to add them to my daily diet immediately}

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Leave a comment

8 Comments

  1. Lisa

     /  September 30, 2015

    If you are still pining for the pig have a look at pet shops, I have seen them there as dog toys although they are far too cute for that!

    Reply
  2. janefraser101

     /  September 23, 2015

    Oh wow, I am going with some work peep next week. I was keen to go, but now I am pee-my-pant excited!!! YAY!

    Reply
  3. Darien

     /  September 23, 2015

    You look beautiful and happy – and that makes me happy.

    Reply
  4. Joyce

     /  September 23, 2015

    I totally agree, a magical outing! We have been twice before, but the latest one is better and I will definitely go again when they come back to CT. It is literally like escaping the real world. Very very nice pic of you and Wayne by the way!!

    Reply
  5. I cannot *wait* for MZ to come back to Jozi with the new show! I won tickets to th last show 4 times and went to every single one. It was unfrigginbelievable!
    No way I’m missing them when they’re back here in November!

    Reply
  6. Sounds like you had a ball….have been meaning to go for ages,guess I must just sell a kidney and go.

    Reply

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