So, chef Rick Bayless is starring in a new dining theater production called "Cascabel." (Note: Absolutely everyone was surprised when this was first announced.) During his time on stage he cooks, dances, and acts. Obviously, we already knew he was good at the first item, but it was completely up in the air whether he'd be able to pull off the other two things, or whether the play itself would hold up. But the first reviews are in.

And they are good. Not completely over-the-top excellent, but very good. Here's a sampling.

The Chicago Tribune first reviewed the show on March 28, and theater critic Chris Jones gave it three and a half stars:

But if you're craving a little music, dance..., fine vittles and the sensual accouterments of the boudoir circus, and you have someone who you'd like to share all these things with, well, "Cascabel" is the sexiest and best tasting show in town.

The New York Times actually included a review of "Cascabel" in its Arts section:

While "Cascabel" is distinctly light on the palate as a work of theater -- call it Cirque du Soleil sprinkled with salsa -- Mr. Bayless's food is predictably delicious. As an actor, on the other hand, he does not exactly radiate natural stage charisma, although he acquits himself well enough in the delivery of his lines.

Time Out Chicago sent both its Theater editor Kris Vire and associate Food & Drink editor Julia Kramer to see how the combination worked, eventually giving the show four stars out of five:

Julia Kramer: At the beginning I felt a little like I was eating at a strip club, but I got used to it. In the end the interplay between things (e.g., the smell of food during the bathtub performance) was the most interesting part. I mean, it was a good meal. It wasn't really much of a play (feel free to disagree). But the overall experience felt one-of-a-kind.

Have you seen "Cascabel?" Leave a comment and let us know if it worked for you.

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