Iun Hockley reviews Zumanity: an Erotic Thrill Ride!
Going into Zumanity, Mrs. Iun and I had no idea what to expect. We were aware from promotional materials that there would be a gentleman with a Mohawk haircut, and women wearing scantily clothes: but that was essentially the extent of our knowledge. Upon arrival in the theatre lobby, we were treated to the usual photography session, which mostly involved being draped with various feather boas and pouting a lot. We thanked our photographer and were directed to our seats for the “pre-show” which begins around 20 minutes before the main event.
After settling down, “Casanova” and “The Two Sisters” appeared and entertained the audience with ribald jokes and outright sexual activities meant to put everyone at ease and into the mood for the coming festivities. Casanova seemed to be a pastiche of “The Gazillionaire” from Absinthe and every Italian lothario stereotype. The Two Sisters handled the more physical side of the pre-show antics, and they even gave me a chocolate-covered strawberry. No, that’s not a euphemism.
Then appeared a couple I’m just going to refer to as “The Swingers”, the lady was dressed like Peg from Married…with Children, albeit a striking blonde rather than the sultry brunette portrayed by Katey Sagal later of Sons of Anarchy fame. The gentleman (no gentleman in my opinion!) was accoutered in a suavely-cut suit open to the chest and colored like a Gaudi lizard. These two continued to appear throughout the show, continually eliciting the most laughs and entertainment from the audience with their over-the-top and usually extremely explicit antics. Regrettably, they were unquestionably the most enjoyable part of the show.
The rest of the show was presented by our “Hostess” Edie, who gave voice over to the various stunts and narrated the show unevenly. Some of the stunts were truly stunning: the two topless mermaids in the giant fishbowl were so well choreographed as to elicit gasps of appreciation from the audience. The aforementioned gentleman with the Mohawk was spectacularly acrobatic, and the wrapped-up submissive performed some inspired aerial moves from her swing.
There is plenty of nudity and semi-nudity to titillate the casual audience member, but realistically speaking, little else to captivate your attention. Whereas shows such as The Blue Man Group, Mac King, and Jabbawockeez never take a break from the constant sensory input through humor, sound, and spectacle, Zumanity lacks any consistency. There is no central story here – unless you count a vaguely-defined theme of eroticism and sexuality as a central premise. There is no emotion to the proceedings, no hook which to grab your attention, no conflict to resolve and no characters in the main show to develop.
This, of course, does not detract from the fact that the performers themselves are clearly brilliant and invested in what they do. The choreography is top-notch, the music and singer of the highest caliber, The Swingers are hilarious and Edie certainly one of the best hostesses that you could hope for. But overall, the production falls thoroughly flat due to an absence of a strong central premise to tie it all together. Without that, it’s a lot of nudity with some great staging, but
[Photo cred. cirque du soleil ]