Reading several very positive Danish reviews of Madeleines Madteater I was very much in doubt about how I would like this kind of entertainment comprising both a show as well as a feast of some kind. When I dine out, the food always gets my 100% attention, and I was therefore afraid that I would either be too focussed on the food to miss the performance or that the show would captivate me, so I couldn’t enjoy the meal. Reluctant as I am, I had chosen to postpone the to go or not to go-decision to an undefined future date.
My luck I happened to get the chance to join my colleagues from work to Madeleines Madteater’s Ca. Cirkus show (my photos) on the Friday evening of March 28 and authored by Mette Sia Martinussen and Nikolaj Danielsen.
It was one of those very windy and cold (but few) winter days and it was very cold in the concrete warehouse-type building to have the drink of still water which the kind and attentive staff provided each arriving guest with. Some people were giving blankets to keep them warm.
In the one end of the lounge, there was a big table-high green box decorated with plastic flowers. I wondered what was going to happen. I was actually very excited.
When everyone had arrived, 13 in total that evening, soft, delightful and melodious music quelled peoples voices and our eyes turned to the centre of the box, where a dancer dressed in a white cat-suit came up. By sliding and catty movements she waved herself up from the opening in the middle of the box and finally jumped down and sprinted towards the other end of the building.
I was mystified. What was that about?
Group by group the staff invited us to enter the huge round white dining table that resembled a circus ring and that had a hole in the middle covered with a white coating. The room was very dark and by each seat we found (only) a white serviette, a fork and a knife and some butter in a tube. We brought with us the glass for drinking water.
The music played on and while the staff speedily, but quietly supplied us with a little candle for light, a bread tree, a glass of wine, which they didn’t informed me what was, then a film was projected to the white centre and showed a pair of hands preparing the food for our dinner. Washing potatoes, frying duck breasts and things like that. There were big mirrors suspended to the ceiling and tilted, so that we could visualize what was going on in the middle of the ring.
We got the first dish of King crab as far as I remember – I didn’t take notes. We were only giving little information. In the beginning I was a bit shy to ask away, because I didn’t want to shatter the performance, and I didn’t know what was suppose to happen.
Suddenly the dinner preparation-movie stopped, and the dancer appeared again coming up from the middle of the ring and sort of wearing the white cover like a coat attached to her shoulders.
The gentle and well-suited music continued and she danced through our next three courses, the first two of them were based on fish as far as my lacking memory tells me.
I loved this first act! I enjoyed the piece of it and I felt sucked into some world I had never been before. It was exiting, surprising, innovative and entertaining in a well-paced and harmonious way. The expression of the performance happening in the centre of the ring and the food and wine we were served matched nicely and refreshingly.
Then the staff told us to withdraw to the lounge, where we would find candy floss and ice cream. Only I didn’t really get to taste it as I used the break to visit the loos, because of all the water I always swill, and when I returned there was only a nip of candy floss left for me. I believe someone told me the ice cream was made of tomato. Why would one combine candy floss and a good full-bodied beer? I still don’t get this.
We were then escorted to a set of four tables gathered like giant + and the six of us were placed facing each other which was a nice change, because it allowed us to chat. After all, the purpose was to spend time and interact with my colleagues.
The staff served us the ingredients for four dishes, in four sets, and we should prepare them ourselves. That sucked. I’m sorry. This is what I do every day at home. Why should I do that attending a show? If that was something I was looking for, I would have gone to a Korean barbecue. What performance lies there? It was definitely not very original and seemed a bit like they had ran out ideas for what to do with the second part of the play. This set really let me down and justified my fear of whether this was really my kind of entertaining my foodie heart.
All in all the food was nice with some dishes more interesting an tasty than others. I wouldn’t write about Madeleines Madteater here if the food was not okay. For the main course we drank a very nice Cote du Rhône, which they poured very generously.
We moved on again to the very end of the warehouse for tea and coffee Madeleine cakes of course and the avecs, which were not included in the price of the ticket.
I generally liked the service from the staff, because they appeared very concerned about our well-being and conscious about this being a lot of stimulation to the senses. When I asked about the food and wine they were knowledgeable about it. I missed a piece of paper, though, that I could bring home with me listing the food and wine I had consumed.
Oh, one comment about the wine. The third dished offered a Pinot Noir from overseas somewhere, and it had a stiff reek of cork to it, which no one but me had noticed. I complained and they swapped all our glasses with a new clean one.
So, would I pay another visit to Madelaines Madteater? I think I’ll remain reluctant until someone invites me there again. The tile of the show is Ca. Cirkus – I hope the coming performances show more Cirkus and less Ca.