I’m trying to inexpensively make the most of my remaining couple of months in Europe so it was a VERY welcome surprise to be invited as a guest to see ‘London Calling,’ a live variety show playing at Roncalli’s Apollo Theatre in Dusseldorf. This show was produced specifically for Roncalli’s Theater so you won’t be able to catch the performance anywhere else. ‘London Calling’ is only showing until 30 March 2014, but the following show ‘Arrivederci Rome‘ showing form 3 April – 27 July looks just as entertaining.
‘Londong Calling‘ is a festival of artists demonstrating the creative uses and potential of the human body through acrobatics, impressive balancing acts and performances that seem to defy not only the laws of gravity but physics as well, interspersed with the comedic skits of two flamboyant prop comic MCs and burlesque style singing and dancing by sexy, scantily clad women. There was even one act where a man threw gold rings into the air and caught them around his neck, which doesn’t sound very impressive but his ability to engage the audience made his act one of the crowd faves. All of this is set against a London themed back drop.
I loved it because it made a nice change from the typical social conventions of dinner and a movie or going to a bar, and also because there is just something very special about watching live performances, being able to experience first hand the result of all the hard work put into hours upon hours of practice.
You’d think I was the one onstage with the pressure of having only one shot to execute each crazy maneuver, judging by my increased heart rate, and clammy palms as I sat there watching fixedly, holding my breathe as I rooted under my breath for the performer to get through the apex moment without incident.
The lobby of the theater is home to a modern bar and a dining section off to the side, perfect for enjoying a cocktail or two before the show or you can skip the show entirely and just have the full dining experience. If you’re lucky enough to visit during nice weather you can eat your meal on the terrace which offers lovely views of the river Rhine and the Old Town but such wasn’t the case for our group, it was indoor dining for us. The lobby is always decorated according to the theme of whatever show is playing (yes, there is currently a red phone booth in the lobby) and the recently added art element which changes with each show is currently displaying paintings by Christian Gabel and metal works by Helmut Baur and make for good pre show conversation as you sip your cocktail while perusing the mini gallery with your companion(s). The interior of the performance hall has more of an old school vaudeville charm, with its red carpeting, red walls and iconic red velvet curtain. The tables and chairs are arranged around the ‘thrust’ style stage over five levels separated by gold banisters. The experience is made complete with waiters decked out in white shirts, and black pants, vest and bow ties.
Our party went for the dinner and a show option, the new Chef since January 2013 changes the menu with each show and did not disappoint with his ‘London Calling’ menu. Up first was a delicious smoked salmon tartar, accompanied by a fresh micro green salad drizzled in a honey mustard dressing served during the first half. The main was a “gourmet” version of Fish and Chips: a tender cod filet, with a side of “potato tart” (something like scalloped potatoes) and topped with crispy beet chips. This was served during intermission which was nice because it allows you to break up the show with conversation as you enjoy your meal. The meal came to it’s conclusion with a rich and sweet peanut butter/chocolate mousse with side of kumquats and king cherries served during the second half of the show. The house red was pretty darn good too I must add. The 2.5 hour show seemed to fly by and a great time was had by all. So whether you are looking for something different to do in place of the regular old movies for a first date (or a hundredth date) with that special someone, or want to have a girls night out, or maybe just want to grab some food without a show then Roncalli’s Apollo Theater is a must check out spot for anyone living in Dusseldorf or the surrounding area. Check them out at: http://www.apollo-variete.com/ And don’t forget to like them on Facebook to stay posted for updates.