Entertainment

The hottest ticket in NYC is dinner theater — with a side of bondage

Reservations are all tied up for this below-radar theater production.

“Reflections,” a roughly 2½-hour-long show that features a four-course dinner and displays of rope bondage, is serving up entertainment with a side of kink. As city stages remain dark due to COVID-19 shutdowns, the swanky downtown performance — advertised only through word of mouth — has helped fill the void, selling out each of its seven sultry performances since debuting in April at Duane Park in Noho.

Due to its popularity, the show’s director, 41-year-old Inka Nevala — an award-winning burlesque performer known as LouLou D’vil — has added an extra night to the summer season this Thursday. She’s also planning a schedule of fall performances to resume on Sept. 15.

“I want to open people’s eyes to what different kinds of fetishes can be,” Nevala, who originally hails from Finland and lives in East Williamsburg, told The Post. She doesn’t perform in the show, but wrote the script during lockdown in 2020.

The sultry "Reflections" performances are at Duane Park in Noho, and have added additional shows to an upcoming fall season.
The sultry “Reflections” feature a cast of six performers, who help tell the story of a woman named Kaori who, while going through heartbreak, finds inner peace through rope bondage.
Daniel D’Ottavio

“It can be something that bonds you even stronger with your partner,” said Nevala, who wants to correct the impression that fetish play is always “rough, brutal, dark.”

“Or tacky,” added her boyfriend, 44-year-old fashion photographer Daniel D’Ottavio, who’s also involved with the production.

Instead, Nevala said, “I just want to give people an opportunity to feel like they can approach the fetish world easier and safer, and through beauty.”

“Reflections,” according to the couple, is a love story about personal growth. It follows a New York City woman named Kaori who, while going through a breakup, meets a man known only as the “bookstore master.” She begins to explore rope bondage with him, and finds pleasure and even peace.

“Rope bondage [is] all about intimacy,” said Nevala, with D’Ottavio adding, “[It’s] a vehicle for learning how to trust, listen and be vulnerable, truly vulnerable, and that’s something that — rope or no rope — we all long to have in a relationship.”

The show's creator aims to quash impressions that the realm of fetish can be brutal or smutty.
The show’s creator aims to quash impressions that the realm of fetish can be brutal or smutty.
Daniel D’Ottavio

“Reflections” includes nudity, which Nevala and D’Ottavio say is a part of the artistic vision. Each show’s cast of six includes spoken-word performers and a dancer.

Audience members who prefer to conceal their own identities can help themselves to free black Venetian masquerade-style eye masks. Throughout the night, guests nibble on upscale dishes such as smoked salmon on a polenta blini, pan-seared striped bass with sweet pea hummus and, for dessert, Champagne sorbet (changes are available for dietary restrictions). More than just dinner, the pair says the meal is also part of the overall sensual experience.

“The sight, sound, smell, taste — all the senses are being touched,” said D’Ottavio.

"Reflections" also includes a four-course gourmet dinner.
“Reflections” also includes a four-course gourmet dinner.
Daniel D’Ottavio

Tickets, which cost $225 for general admission and $650 for Champagne service for two, have sold out quickly. Some viewers have even returned for a repeat showing.

“People are definitely craving performance and just being together,” said Nevala.

Neither proof of vaccination nor face masks are required. This week’s limited-capacity seating will accommodate 40 people, and will increase to 50 in September.

There’s also more to come. Under the umbrella of her Cocoon Presents series of fetish-centered shows, Nevala aims to produce three or four new stories per year, each focused on a different sexual practice. She wants to enlist additional writers for future scripts and the couple said they’re exploring the idea of bringing on investors.

The partners also anticipate further demand for these performances; D’Ottavio credits the pandemic with simply giving people more time to think about what they want in life.

“There are people, because they’ve been sitting around, they’re interested in learning more about fetishes,” he said. “They’re interested in saying, ‘Here’s an opportunity to introduce this in my relationship or marriage.’ ”

308 Bowery; 212-732-5555, CocoonDark.com

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New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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