Verryt's design and Andrew Malmo's lighting capture the underground atmosphere well, transforming The Silo into a dimly lit club, with cabaret seating, bar and stage, all cloaked in black fabric and gold-latticed overlay. The den is comfortable, spacious and long, and Verryt uses it all, bringing the cast into the audience at times throughout the evening, giving Malmo new angles to work with. Love what we do? Each song combines sublime composition and excellent performance to paint a picture and cause reaction. As she sings, "Now I intend to be playful, love's better that way", she disappears in the dark, swallowed by the crowd. She brings those same qualities to the politically charged Munchhausen Hollander , and its bitter refrain "liar liar The song is devastating, so to break the mood, the ensemble throws them into Mandalay, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill a short, sharp uplifting fairy-tale to close the first half. He laps up the opportunity to compare ordinary "banality" with gay unconventionality during The Lavender Song Frederick Hollander , commenting with provocative frankness, many would like to "round us up and send us away, that's what you'd like to do. Laing is totally at home from the moment he saunters into Berlin.
Thanks to primary research by John Verryt, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Paul Barrett the team credited with the production conception , some of the most compelling songs from these note worthy commentators - in particular Kurt Weill, Mischa Spoliansky and Frederick Hollander - have been given a new platform, via the 28 compositions chosen for Berlin. Dynamic duo Laing and Ward-Lealand, shine with humourous material, and indulge in systematically undressing cross-dressing, exploring the possibilities for a hermaphrodite, before ending up back where they started. Support us in our mission to review NZ's performing arts. Later, she wanders back through the audience, singing at her best, the ballad Youkali Roger Fernay and Kurt Weill , which features a delicious glockenspiel moment from Widerstrom. There is a sense of comradeship and trust between cast and musicians that depicts what must've been the backbone of survival for all in the actual clubs of the 's. In keeping with the escapism of the time, the ensemble's movement and choreography, under the guidance of Marianne Schultz, is coloured by sex in neon, rather than sexual innuendo, with hands often firmly clasped on each other's cleavage and crotch. Pre World War II, Berlin was one of the last cities to fall to the Nazis in the 's, and as she became a powder keg of defiance against Germany's decline into fascism, many were driven to her underground clubs to escape, survive and stay sane. The veiled cynicism in the 'encouragement' from parental figures Freddi and Sabine, as the younger Angelique, with her intoxicating eyes, performs Sex Appeal Frederick Hollander , sets up a particularly effective dynamic. In complete contrast, Ward-Lealand delivers an emotional punch when she sings Weill's most famous song Mack The Knife. Unlike so many famous recording artists, including Ella Fitzgerald and Robbie Williams, who have turned it into a gooey upbeat tune, her performance remains true to the song's story: Verryt's design and Andrew Malmo's lighting capture the underground atmosphere well, transforming The Silo into a dimly lit club, with cabaret seating, bar and stage, all cloaked in black fabric and gold-latticed overlay. The songs are beautiful and lose nothing by being sung in English, thanks to the work of translators Paul Barrett, Lauren Jackson and Jeremy Lawrence. Each song combines sublime composition and excellent performance to paint a picture and cause reaction. The den is comfortable, spacious and long, and Verryt uses it all, bringing the cast into the audience at times throughout the evening, giving Malmo new angles to work with. Unlike Cabaret, Berlin tells her stories directly, exquisitely and exclusively, through the actual songs written by the great lyricists and composers from that explosive time. She brings those same qualities to the politically charged Munchhausen Hollander , and its bitter refrain "liar liar But the moment when you feel truly transported to a club in Berlin is when the three decadent divas stride on stage. An absolute highlight, in terms of the lighter side of Berlin's cabaret, is Spoliansky's gender-bender, Maskulinum-Femininum. This familiarity cements the atmosphere of Berlin, not just through the songs, but also through the chat, the jokes, between them. By the end of Berlin I feel a little sick as I wonder how - so soon after this moment in history I have just 'visited'; this den of cultural release and caustic commentary - did Germany and the world allow The Third Reich to continue, rise, prosper, persecute and murder so many, before it was stopped. Laing is totally at home from the moment he saunters into Berlin. Intelligently strung together, Berlin's musical journey gives layers of illumination for the senses, at times colourful, glamorous and entertaining, then exposing, scathing and biting. With rich source material and effective visual and musical direction, Berlin hits the mark. Love what we do? Their lyrics make many contemporary singer-songwriters' efforts seem generic, self indulgent, plastic, and void of enduring significance. The song is devastating, so to break the mood, the ensemble throws them into Mandalay, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill a short, sharp uplifting fairy-tale to close the first half. As she revels in the mischief of pissed seamen in the bars of Wapping, there is a show stopping leggy moment that you have to see to believe.
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