Our city has more than its share of sophisticated entertainment options. But it wasn’t until spring of this year when Kerrilee Kaski Gore transformed Carr Winery into an immersive cabaret club that the audience for edgy, music-driven dance and acrobatics got what it was looking for. Patterned after such popular Los Angeles attractions as the Lucent Dossier residency at the Edison, but drawn primarily from Gore’s active imagination, the show mixed loud modern rock music, beautiful dancers in sexy costumes, audience interaction, and multimedia production into a single full-sensory night out. The goal, as Gore stated at the time, was to leave people feeling as if they didn’t know what had hit them.
After a short hiatus during which, among other things, the former Kaski got hitched to Depeche Mode founder and longtime Montecito resident Martin Gore, the show is back, and it’s headed for a new venue. Having found the Lobero’s David Asbell to be an accommodating host, the creative team — which includes director Jason Young, set designer Victoria Imperioli, and impresario Jen Smithwick — decided to take over the stage area of the theater, putting the audience once again in the middle of the action. On opening night this Thursday, November 20, the early 5:30 p.m. performance will double as a fundraiser for Direct Relief International. It will be followed by a second 8:30 show and a third and final performance on Friday, November 21.
Imagine what might happen if the daydreams of a cabaret artist cruising along the freeway with the music blasting were to somehow magically come true, and you’ll have a good idea of what’s in store at When the Lights Go Out. As an artist, Gore holds very little back — if she can think of it, she’ll try it. Nearly all of the performers from earlier year will be returning, plus two totally new acts, which feature some of the top music-video dancers in Hollywood. Talent from Zen Arts and from Autumn Phillips’s school of aerial acrobatics will contribute their specialties to a constantly changing carnival of sights and sounds. The audience will be seated in two tiers onstage right with the performers. And throughout the show, the actors will mingle and solicit participation, so be prepared for a possible slow dance with an exotic beauty. In a theater scene that’s often defined by what’s been done before, When the Lights Go Out stands alone as a true departure from the norm. It’s not just that these industry professionals bring such high production values to the project — it’s that there’s no limit set on where the night can go. Every sequence comes designed to open up into a dream world where anything can happen. For these trend-setting artists, that’s the only way to go.
When the Lights Go Out is at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.) on Thursday, November 20, and Friday, November 21. Call (805) 963-0761 or visit lobero.com for tickets and info.