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The Donkey Show (Club El Flamingo)

by Robert Abrams
September 2, 2000
New York, NY




Where: New York City, New York


Place: The Donkey Show (Club El Flamingo)


Address: 547 West 21st Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)


Website: www.thedonkeyshow.com


Phone: 800-334-8457


Reviewer: Robert Abrams


Date: 9/2/2000



The Donkey Show starts out the evening as a pro-am disco, segues into a floor show done in the surround, and finishes as a nightclub.

The Donkey Show is a riff on Shakespeare's "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream", using disco songs to carry the plot and the emotion. There is plenty of emotion, and even more spectacle, but the plot and drama are a little thin. Don't go to this show expecting to hear tongue-tripping soliliquies. The show is built like an opera. On the other hand, it made me want to go back and reread Shakespeare's original script so, in that sense, the show worked as an extension of a literary work. The show is mostly about the music, and the spectacle, and the innovative staging. It succeeds brilliantly in this regard, and thus makes for a very fun evening.

As for dance, the beginning of the evening is a pro-am disco in the sense that the performers are on the dance floor and stage bumping and grinding away while inviting the audience to join them. If you are into table dancing, and have always wanted to groove on top of a table with a Championship level bump-and-grinder, here is your chance. There were table dancing opportunities for both genders. Some of the women in the cast also demonstrated a very nice vertical line as they danced. The men's line was more angular, but this was likely because they were dancing in character in imitation of the women, and so can not be regarded as definitive of their dancing ability. The cast demonstrated some basic Hustle, a moment or two of Groucho Marx style Tango, and a little of what might have been Nightclub Two-step (except that no one on the East Coast dances Nightclub Two-step, so it was probably just a variation of Hustle). As a result, the cast answered that age old question: can you really Hustle to actual disco music? The answer is clearly Yes.

Further answering this question, my partner and I shoe-horned ourselves into a little open space on the dance floor and danced Hustle during the free dance portion after the floor show was over. No one else that I could see was dancing Hustle, but being authentic takes a little work, and what would they do with their drink?

Because Club El Flamingo serves alcohol, you need to be 18 to enter to see this show (21 or over to drink, plus 21 and over for admission to the 10:30 pm show). Plus, while there is nothing indecent about the show, it can get rather suggestive at times (this is Shakespeare after all - live life to the full or exit stage left pursued by a bear). Doors open for dancing at 7:30 pm. The tickets cost about $35 each. Some discounts are available. With a few exceptions, due to the innovative staging, this is a standing room only show.

Club El Flamingo is located in a part of Chelsea that can only be described as the Edge of Beyond. There is a very nice restaurant across the street called Lot 61 that serves dinner and 61 kinds of Martinis, so you can make an evening of The Donkey show without having to worry about wandering around the meat packing district looking for somewhere to eat. We had dinner early and then saw the 8 pm show. If you are a night owl, you could see the 8 pm show, go to Lot 61 for dinner, and then go back to Club El Flamingo for more dancing after the 10:30 pm show is over.

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