Review: Go Down The Rabbit Hole At Café Nordo

down the rabbit hole

Jesica Avellone, Bo Mellinger, Justine Davis Denson in Nordo’s Down The Rabbit Hole. (Photo by Bruce Clayton Tom.)

Are you ready for an adventure? Ready to go Down The Rabbit Hole? Café Nordo is offering up adventure, intrigue, drama and karaoke paired with a gourmet five-course dinner. Just don’t lose your head! Get your tickets now! This is a show you don’t want to miss. Down The Rabbit Hole runs every weekend through May 28, 2022.

Café Nordo has gathered an amazingly talented cast to bring their Down The Rabbit Hole show back. The creativity and style really show through in this production. The entire adventure is very interactive and thought provoking. Since moving to The Knife Room in 2019 the team has really used the space to maximum effect.

People have reimagined Wonderland in countless ways. It is a delicious tale however you spin it. I doubt that many people have successfully woven karaoke and hidden rooms into their retelling of the classic tale. Nordo nailed it!

ABOUT NORDO
Nordo is committed to creating new worlds of flavor and story for Seattle audiences. Since its inception in 2009, their immersive theatrical productions have garnered critical praise and a loyal member base that has grown exponentially over time as they find a home in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square at The Culinarium (2015) and The Knife Room (2019). Fusing five senses through intriguing design elements, soundscapes, and scent profiles while dining in a performer-interactive environment with show-themed cocktails and mind-bending cuisine is at the center of this ever-expanding concept.

In the last 20 months, Nordo has done what they do best – reinvent. As venues shuttered worldwide, Nordo rose to the occasion with a 180-degree shift to serve up the fun during quarantine in various ways. One of which is their Room Service boxes, an at-home blend of interactive story and cuisine, now served to homes across the country. As restrictions lift and performance resume, Nordo looks forward to more immersive, more amazing experiences to welcome audiences back to their unusual world.

Nordo’s Down The Rabbit Hole puts themes of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland front and center by plucking your favorite tales – like “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and “The Stolen Tart” – and setting them to original music performed by a local cast. As guests wander the installations they will encounter surprise, pop-up dining experiences thoroughly transporting them to the world of Wonderland. Of the 2021 production, audiences raved that “The decor and atmosphere were perfect… the food was amazing and inventive, the performers were lively and very talented, costumes were gorgeous, and the drinks were to die for. I’m definitely planning on going back for another show sometime!” (Katrina O.) and “we are in awe of the talent and heart that Nordo represents… it is a paradisiacal dream come true” (Erica L.).

BACK DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
The White Rabbit (Mo Mellinger) greets the guests at the door and escorts them to their table. The show is by reservation only. Click here for tickets and schedule. Don’t be late! The Queen of Hearts (Kate Kraay) just might decide to take your head. The Mad Hatter (Justine Davis Denson) and The March Hare (Jesica Avellone) mingle with the unsuspecting guests as libations are laid out. Alice (Megan Huyah) appears out of the strangest places. Watch your tarts….

The five-course set menu is served in an intriguing interactive fashion. There are some very delicious the Wonderland themed cocktails available as well as a wine flight that is paired with the meal. Themed outfits are also encouraged.

mandy gree down the rabbit hole

“Wonderland Menagerie” installation, a collaboration with Mandy Green, in Nordo’s Down The Rabbit Hole. (Photo by Bruce Clayton Tom.)

THE SHOW AND DECOR
The show is spectacular and gregarious. All the performers play their parts perfectly and interact seamlessly. It is most definitely a multi-sensory experience Chock full of immersive art installations created by local artists. The Wonderland Menagerie room by Mandy Greer was our favorite by far. The lush mix of textures was enthralling.

Mandy Greer’s Artist Statement: I create theatricalized spaces about desire and longing, whether it be through installations, performance, film or photography.  There is a longing pulling us in our relationship to the deep unknown of nature.  The human animal stands at a continual crossroads, pulled to create a separate elaborate reality and yet pulled to shed our restrictions and sink into the wild dark woods.  Much of what I’m after in my work is to capture this rapturous ecstatic moment, when a river of our inner life spills out of us like blood, milk or ever-growing hair. I make these visceral transitory states tangible through the overabundance of crocheted and sewn fabric.  The immensity of the installations push my own body’s endurance, as I grind up piles upon piles of thrift store flotsam and jetsam, a remaking into the image of revamped mythological story, amped up on glitter and beads. I wade through fairy tales, archetypes, mythology, allegory and folk tales looking for moments that coincide with my own experience of everyday life, where animals perform us. These narratives are, after all, the ordinary human dramas that perpetually reoccur, until they become mythos.  I like to construct an organic glam full of paradoxes: the collusion of homeliness and glitz, hunger and indulgence, love and violence, the decorative and the meaningful, torment and release, the diligence of the handmade and slovenliness of the animal realm.

THE FIVE-COURSE TASTING MENU
Included in your ticket price is a locally sourced, five-course tasting menu from Nordo’s award-winning Executive Chef, Erin Brindley. This is not your traditional sit-down dinner – it is quite literally a pop-up. Start the evening with stolen tarts, (pepper mostly, as in a savory Mama Lil’s Pepper Japanese Cheesecake tart) and wander through installations for your soup and salad experiences. The Walrus and Carpenter provide your main course, a Hama Hama Oyster Bread Pudding deep-fried and served atop Duck Confit, or Artichoke and Olive Cornbread Pudding atop spring leek confit for our gluten-free and vegetarian guests.

“Since we started this company in 2009, a menu fit for Alice in Wonderland has been looming large in my mind,” Erin Brindley said. “We’ve created a menu that is equal parts surprising, integrated with the show experience, and delicious.”

Get tickets and more information here. The show runs through May 28, 2022.

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Earle Dutton

Earle Dutton

Earle Dutton is the Chief Blogger and Editor of Equality365.com. He founded Equality365.com in 2013 to provide information about LGBTQ friendly events of interest, and to support LGBTQ entertainers and supportive artists who visit our community. Earle is a successful businessman in the Pacific Northwest with a long history of support for and involvement in, the Northwest LGBTQ community. His personal interests include: music, theater, pets, culinary arts and technology.

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