Berlin, Germany (Weltexpress). The red and golden splendour of autumn has shed away. November, that miserable month, is here and, lurking round the corner just waiting to pounce, a very grim winter. Now then is the time for magic and myths, pageantry and fantasy. For fantastic acts, for a bit of merrymaking to go well with sumptuous dining in the red and golden surrounds of an antique looking palatial mirror tent. In other words: now it’s Palazzo time.
Palazzo started in Berlin ten years ago. It is a household name for ‘dinner show’ from Hamburg to Stuttgart, Vienna and even Graz. Because it’s both in one, and not just a dinner with a show beside or a show with a dinner as you go along. The anniversary seems set on proving that to the few who are still in doubt. The media were the first to be thrilled by “Kings & Queens”, a modern fairy tale that will run in the, alas, not so fairy tale area of the Ostkreuz in this still rather gloomy part of eastern Berlin. But once inside the splendid structure, you feel as if you were in another world.
In the world of Hans-Peter Wodarz who waves his wand to make fairy tales come true. Together with his team, like rosette cook Kolja Kleeberg, of course, and that great array of artistic actors.
A jolly good king that reigns over a crazy court
That chummy chap with an oversized crown on his head can only be from Merry Old England even if some insist to call him without any peerage Jean-Pierre Poissonnet. Coming from a circus family, he’s been on the boards for over 30 years, touring round the globe as half of the duo “Skating Willers”. For ‘lifetime achievement’ the Artistika Festival in Switzerland awarded him a prize this March. As king in the current Palazzo dinner show “Kings & Queens”, he not only performs in the program, but also makes his voice heard singing, best probably in his near to life presentation as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. And the Palazzo king does resemble Elvis a bit.
Of course a king needs a court and for a happy end to the fairy tale a newly found queen. A court to fit an artistic king that performed well not only on the large stage but also on lots of little ones in the pit and beside the tables. Like Roman and Slava, a Step-dance-Duo from Ukraine easily recognised as twins. With a twinkle they step up onto their small stage and click-clack with tremendous speed. Or take Olivia Weinstein from Canada, the clown with a smile, a bundle of positive energy. The Quebec-born Marjorie Nantel is a master of contortion and a phenomenon in aerial silks, while the Canadian William Jutras gets lots of applause swivelling his Hula Hoop. With Faon Shane, an acrobat who created “chains in air” as her special stunt, and Valérie & Mason, who astound the audience with their hand-on-hand or hand-on-foot number, the Canadians hold the majority among the artists on show. “Década Volatile” is an Argentinian-French Duo whose aerial acrobatic acts make your heart nearly come to a standstill, although they are also beautiful to watch. Anton Belyakov from Russia can keep up a handstand for a long time, whereas Poki from the USA is a witty illusionist – on stage always poking for fun, but a serious thinker in real life. And last not least there’s the Spaniard Omar Cortes Gonzalez, of Olympic fame, who toured with the Cirque du Soleil through the USA and now puts all his stunning strength in his aerial straps.
Very sexy with or without straps and mostly clad in black leather is lead singer Denise Beiler from Austria. No dirndl girl, for sure. But certainly one for “Lonely Hearts”, the band to accompany her, made up of ex-rock stars back home at Palazzo: bandleader Scott White (bass and trombone), Kay Lübke (drums), Tobias Tinker (piano and horn), Stephan Bierwald (guitar). Background singer with Eros Ramazotti and other stars, here at Palazzo Denise can demonstrate that she’s a solo singer with a powerful voice as well.
As a whole, the musical performances at the Palazzo Berlin have never been as good as now – even if they do present mainly well-known songs to the public.
Whom we want is Wodarz – and Kolja, of course
At a dinner show to enjoy the evening by dining in style is and will remain the main thing. Hans-Peter Wodarz and Kolja Kleeberg are all in to make this come true – and not a fairy tale. The pioneer of event gastronomy who went through the ‘school of Witzigmann’ greeted first guests in front of the entrance. Well done, Wodarz! In the warm inside cold drinks were waiting, such as that welcoming glass of champagne. For dinner, beer or wine is now ordered, of excellent quality – for food see below. Gradually we settled down at our table, as Kolja Kleeberg made his round, shaking his mane and loads of hands. In their mirror tent, the two stars greeted the “venerated audience”, not without political remarks and a note on the main course. Shucks, its Duck we shouted in glad expectation.
The duck tastes as good as it did (and does) in the Nassauer Hof of Wiesbaden, where Wodarz swung the sceptre in the 1980s. (Duck is the apt name of the restaurant there, worthy of a rosette since 36 years – but that’s another story.) The Palazzo duck is served as main course, a confit joint with fig sauce, chicory, pomegranate and some potato doughnuts. First course of four in the menu (ask for the four course vegetarian menu in advance if you prefer it) is tuna tartar with lemon herbs sauce, avocado-olive sesame and mint taboulé. As a transition, there is a really good and hot soup. This racy red beetroot soup with ginger, orange and small mussels tastes umami and quite exotic, a perfect treat in this cold season. The dessert is the same for vegetarians and non-veggies. On your plate are arrayed a small circular chocolate cake, called “Queen of Sheba”, with preserved cherries and stracciatella ice cream. What a dream!
And what about the real queen? Mirror, mirror, in the tent, go find out how things went! And do tell the world to go for Palazzo.
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“Kings & Queens” is on show at Palazzo ‘Spiegelzelt’ near Ostkreuz station in 10317 Berlin, Kynaststraße 17, from November 2, 2016 to March 5, 2017. Shows start Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 pm, on Sunday at 8 pm. Service-Hotline for Tickets etc.: 01806 – 388 883. E-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.palazzo.org