Saturday, April 25, 2009

Costas Opa & Circus Contraption

About a month or two ago, Leah (my monthly lunch buddy), proposed that we get together outside of work and go to a show. She'd heard Circus Contraption was excellent - and doing their final performance ever this Spring - and we decided to make it a date. The show was tonight, in a huge factory space attached to Theo Chocolates in Fremont - so beforehand we grabbed dinner together at Costas Opa - a restaurant I hadn't been to since I was a kid.

I had the Athenian Platter ($13.50) so that I could try lots of things on the menu. It included a cup of Avgolemono soup (that delicious egg, lemon & rice soup), as well as one beef souvlaki, 2 dolmades, 2 keftedes (Greek meatballs), spanakopita, rice, and vegetables.

Both Dan & Leah went with the Chicken Souvlaki Platter ($11.50), with two skewers, rice, and vegetables.

And since we still had a bit of time before the show - we indulged in dessert. Leah & I went for the Chocolate Mousse Cake ($5.50), while Dan had the Tiramisu ($5.50).

Everything was really flavorful and the service was great. During the very short wait in the lobby before Leah arrived (Dan & I were a little early), we had 2 folks check in and make sure we'd been helped. And our waitress was friendly and kind - even relating a story about her husband accidentally hitting their son in the eye with a piece of lamb souvlaki once, after I had a mishap with my souvlaki trying to get it off the skewer.

And after dinner, we walked over and took our seats for the show. It's hard to describe, but I would recommend Circus Contraption to everyone. Their current, final show - The Show to End All Shows - is running through the end of May on Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 7pm. It's 21 and over, and they have a full bar. It's a 1 ring circus, with a full band, and oscillates between comedy and drama - sometimes so quickly it makes your head spin and leaves you with your mouth agape. And it's participatory in a good way - nothing forced or uncomfortable - just singing and screaming along with the rest of the diverse, enthusiastic audience. And it runs the gamut from the innocence of a poodle act, the horrors of the geek, to the decadence of an strip club... well, almost.

As they describe it themselves...

"The SHOW to End All SHOWS imagines a family-owned circus with all of the glamour and glitz of the 70’s and 80’s. The time, however, is now, or even slightly in the future, and the glamour shows signs of decay. A sense of imminent destruction looms as things begin to go awry under the tent. The Ringmaster, (a Jim Jones-style patriarch), insists upon the willful denial of their world’s demise by not only his progeny, but also the audience. This joyful romp to oblivion will draw inspiration from the circuses of excess in those decades of decadence, and feature “traditional” circus acts such as trained pink poodles and aerial mermaids, all re-imagined by their human counterparts in Circus Contraption and scored by the incredible Circus Contraption Band. Their latest twisted take on Americana also tells the story of the show that must go on, despite all evidence that the show, maybe even the world, will be extinguished before the closing act."

So if your looking for something a little different to do on a Weekend night - go check it out. It's well worth the ticket price and the cost of a babysitter. And be sure to pull out a crisp $1 bill by the middle of the second act.

Costas Opa Greek Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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