Bohemia: Visually Stunning, but lacks substance

Mark Siano and Opal Peachy’s latest collaboration, Bohemia, is a viridescent cabaret about music, dance, absinthe and sex that took viewers on a trip through 1890s Prague on Thursday night at the Triple Door.


The story itself is relatively straight-forward, Czech composer Antonin Dvorák (Siano) develops a case of composer’s block before embarking on his all-important ninth sympathy.  After reading an unflattering review which claims he will never live up to the Bohemian legacy of Chopin, he looks for inspiration at the bottom of a bottle-of absinthe, which seems like some questionable decision making of a very bohemian sort- and is visited by the “green fairies,” a brash and sensual collection of dancers dressed in glitter and scarves, and the ghost of Chopin himself (Peachy).The odd group go on a series of hallucinations together in an attempt to get Dvorák his mojo back.


In reality, Bohemia is hard to describe, it flits from genre to genre enthusiastically, if not seamlessly-burlesque, cabaret, musical theatre, standard theatre, and fourth-wall-breaking stand-up to name a few. “What is going on?” Dvorák yells at one point about halfway through the performance, and there were times where I shared his sentiment. Sensual acrobatics were followed by bawdy sex-jokes, while side characters were frequently  introduced with little to no function other than vague thematic development. However, good theatre isn’t necessarily what one needs out of a cabaret dinner show, and it would be impossible to argue that Bohemia isn’t entertaining.


The gravity-defying acrobatics were truly fantastic, the few times the show dipped into full on burlesque were tasteful and incredibly well-done. Enough of the bawdy jokes landed to forgive those that didn’t, and the dance numbers were just plain fun. While classical may seem to be a niche market in 2019, the music was truly top-notch and enjoyable even for the most nascent of classical connoisseurs. I was only vaguely familiar with Chopin before the performance, and had never heard of  Dvorák , but I left with the urge to add both to my playlist.

Bohemia runs through January 26th, with both 17+ and 21+ shows each night. If you want to have a fun night out, enjoy some culinary satisfaction, and maybe drink some absinthe, tickets are on sale now.


Bohemia written by Mark Siano and Opal Peachy. Triple Door. 216 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101. Through Jan 26. Tickets and more info: here. 

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