Review: Carrington-Brown, Dream A Little Dream.

Update: This production is now back at Bar Jeder Vernunft and runs from August 15th to September 5th 2014.

 

Rebecca Carrington and Colin Brown are an extraordinarily talented pair. Between them they have a not inconsiderable pedigree, ranging from stints with The Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to touring with Robbie Williams, David Byrne and Kanye West.

 

 

(picture – Jan Wirdeier)

Dream A Little Dream is their latest full-length cabaret show and showcases their talents perfectly.

The first half of the show introduces us to the pair themselves, their early lives and influences, and comprises of a series of medleys ranging from James Bond themes, to Bach to The Beatles. Who knew that almost the entire back catalogue of the Beatles could be performed to the four chords of Bach’s 1st Prelude? It gets funnier the longer it goes on.

Rebecca’s background performing in film scores is shown off in full in a medley comprising all the great iconic themes, with Colin’s comic interpretation running alongside.

A stand out moment in the first half is Rebecca’s solo performance of In Dreams from The Lord Of The Rings soundtrack – just lovely.

 

 

(Picture – Jan Wirdeier)

The second half of the show opens with an extraordinary cross-cultural moment that I wouldn’t want to spoil for you, suffice to say it involves Bagpipes and Lederhosen.

By this point we have learned that not only are Rebecca and Colin a married couple but also ‘new Berliners’ having made the city their home for the past 6 years. The quirks and difficulties of adapting to life in Germany are beautifully explored in the comic songs Steuerberater Blues and Für mich soll’s Deutsche Regeln Regnen – both interpretations are achingly funny and would not be out of place in a set by Fascinating Aida.

Towards the end of the show the pair seem to achieve a long held ambition by performing a medley of the hits of their respective musical heroes, Madonna and Michael Jackson, complete with conical (and indeed comical) breasts and studded posing pouch. The impersonations are spot-on and whilst played for laughs are done with the affection of true fans.

 

 

(picture – Jan Wirdeier)

They are, as they point out very early on in the show, not a double act but in fact a trio. Joe, the venerable cello is an essential component. The elder statesman of the act, Joe was played at the premiere of Carmen back in the day and has no doubt seen a thing or two. I very much doubt that Joe travels as hold luggage!

Of course, the other star of the show is the venue itself, the beautiful Bar Jeder Vernunft. As you walk up the concrete ramp from Schaperstraße, into what looks like a multi-story car park, you can have no idea what lies in wait for you at the top. A glittering Spiegeltent with intimate seating and a bustling army of waiting staff rapidly transport you back to the heady days of 1920′s Berlin cabaret. An absolute gem.

 

Carrington-Brown

Dream A Little Dream, Bar Jeder Vernunft,

August 15th to September 5th 2014

Tuesday to Saturday 20.00 (Sundays 19.00)

Tickets 030 8831582

www.bar-jeder-vernunft.de

Posted in Shows | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

One House In One Street in Berlin.

Running south from Hohenzollenplatz and parallel to the modern, busy Bundesallee in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district of Berlin is the small,  quiet, residential street of Nassauische Straße, named in 1886 after the former Province of Hesse-Nassau.

At the turn of the 20th Century, the street was in its prime and consisted mainly of substantial 5-storey blocks with gardens, and apartments of 8-12 rooms for wealthy, middle-class families.

By the end of the First World War, demand for more affordable housing was so great that these grand apartment blocks had begun to be sub-divided, and additional smaller blocks built into the gardens and inner courtyards.

Many of the buildings in this small street have stories to tell, but one in particular stands out.

(Picture : Brendan Nash)

In the Spring of 1923, newlyweds Rudolf and Marlene Sieber moved into their first family home at Nassauische Straße 30.

They had been married at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche on May 14th of that year, and Marlene was already pregnant with their first -and only- child.

Rudolf was a talented Assistant Director at the Ufa film studios in Potsdam and Marlene a regular performer with the ‘repertory’ company at the Theatre am Nollendorfplatz.

 

(Picture: Filmmuseum Berlin)

The Renton Mark was yet to be introduced to stabilise the currency and Germany was in the grip of catastrophic hyper-inflation, one American Dollar was worth 350 German Marks.

The Siebers would only live at Nassauische Straße for a year but the apartment block was a very established one, full of both born-and-bred Berliners and those who had moved to the city from elsewhere – often extended families thrown together in these difficult times.

The neighbours at No.30, if they even met the young, aspiring actress who had just moved in, could have had no idea of what the future held for Frau Sieber as she transformed into the worldwide superstar, Marlene Dietrich.

Their own lives over the next two decades would be filled with the optimism of a fledgling new republic, confusion at the rise of hatred and far-right politics, discrimination and erosion of their human rights and ultimately the terror of deportation.

The names of some of these neighbours are remembered in fourteen Stolpersteine – brass, commemorative ‘stumbling blocks’  – laid in the cobbles of the street outside.

 

(Picture: Brendan Nash)

Adele Alifeld was born on December 29th 1865 in the small town of Pasewalk,in the state of  Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in the north-east of Germany.

On March 17th 1943, at the age of 78, she was taken from her home and deported to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia where she died eight days later on March 25th.

Wilhelm Goldstein from Stolpe in Melklenburg-Vorpommern, was 58 when he was deported to Auchwitz on March 4th 1943. There are no further records of what happened to him.

Luise Niklas from Lipiny in Poland  endured the three day train journey to Riga, after having been deported on January 19th 1942, aged 51. She was killed on arrival.

63 year-old Regina Seidemann was deported to the Piaski ghetto in eastern Poland on March 28th 1942. The site was soon to be liquidated and it’s inhabitants murdered in the Belzec extermination camp.

 

(Picture: Brendan Nash)

Johanna Danielsohn was born in Berlin in 1879 and Elsa Danielsohn in 1907.

The 63 and 35 year old mother and daughter were loaded onto a train on September 5th 1942 and also endured the three day journey to Riga, where they were killed on arrival on September 8th.

Art-dealer Theodor Frankenbach had come to Berlin from Leipzig where he was born in 1869 and had married Elizabeth Graupe, four years his junior.  They were 73 and 69 years old when they were deported to Theresienstadt on October 3rd 1942, they were both dead by November 2nd of that same year.

Their son Kurt had been taken from them a week earlier and died on arrival at Raasiku bei Raval, on September 26th.

 

(Picture: Brendan Nash)

Henriette and Ludwig Dalheim were Berliners, born in 1888 & 1883 respectively and Thea Dalheim had been born Thea Toller in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt in 1899.  They were 56, 59 and 43 years of age when they were deported to Raasiku bei Raval in Estonia, on September 26th 1942, where they died soon after.

 (Picture: Brendan Nash)

Mother & Daughter Paula and Ruth Schiff had come to Berlin from Köln.

Ruth was born in 1913 and was just 31 when she and her mother were deported to Theresienstadt on March 17th, 1943 on the same transport as their neighbour Adele Alifeld. Ruth was then taken on to Auschwitz where she died in 1944.

Her mother Paula remained in Theresienstadt and, aged 67, was freed when the camp was liberated in 1945.

These fourteen Stolpersteine were laid on November 29th 2005 – there are 50 more of them in Nassauische Straße alone, and over 45,000 Europe-wide.

 

For further information go to

http://www.stolpersteine.eu/en/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cabaret Is Ten!

Update: July 1st 2014.

Cabaret Berlin is pleased to be able to offer 20% discount on tickets for this production of Cabaret. Use the link at the bottom of this article, or call/email the box office using the keyword “Brendan Nash” to obtain your discount. 

First staged at Berlin’s Bar Jeder Vernunft back in 2004, Vincent Patterson’s superb German-language production of Cabaret celebrates its tenth anniversary and is back at the Tipi Am Kanzleramt for an eight-week run this Summer.

 (Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

Seven Sally Bowles, five Fraulein Schneiders and nineteen Kit-Kat girls have featured in the production over the years, but returning for this season are regulars Michael Kargus as the Conferencier (MC) and Mogens Eggemann as Kit-Kat girl extraordinaire, Frenchie.

(Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

(Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

(Photo: Jan Wirdeier)

Based on the novel ‘Goodbye To Berlin’ by Christopher Isherwood and John van Druten’s ‘I am a Camera’, with music and lyrics by  John Kander & Fred Ebb, Cabaret’s depiction of life in early 1930’s Berlin is a modern classic and as relevant today as ever.

A must-see for Berlin visitors and residents alike.

July 4th to August 30th 2014

Tickets €20 to €59.50

http://www.tipi-am-kanzleramt.de/en/cabaret-the-musical/

Tickets can also be reserved by phone or email

030-390 665 50

karten[at]tipi-am-kanzleramt.de

Use the keyword “Brendan Nash” for 20% discount on tickets

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Mr. Bachardy

The portrait artist Don Bachardy is 80 today.

Donald Jess Bachardy was born on May 18th 1934 in Los Angeles.  In February of 1953, he met the British writer Christopher Isherwood, 30 years his senior, and they began a relationship that would last 33 years right up to the writer’s death in 1986.

He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Slade School of Art in London, where he had his first solo exhibition, at the Redfern Gallery, in October 1961.

He has since exhibited in solo shows across North America and his work is in the permanent collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the MH de Young Museum of Art in California and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

 

He still lives in Santa Monica, California in the house that he and Christopher Isherwood moved into over 50 years ago and has a studio there where he continues to draw and paint most days.

In September 2013, he travelled to Berlin for the first time and visited the apartment at Nollendorfstrasse 17, where Christopher Isherwood lived and wrote about during his time in Berlin, in the closing years of the Weimar Republic.

Don at Christopher’s window, Nollendorfstraße 17, September 2013 (pic: Brendan Nash)

Exterior of Nollendorfstraße 17, September 2013 (Pic: Brendan Nash)

Don Bachardy and Brendan Nash, Soho Theatre London, September 2013 (Pic: Katrina Buchanan)

Posted in People | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

April 24th 1970

“Then I had lunch with Jean Ross and her daughter Sarah, and three of their friends at a little restaurant in Chancery Lane. Jean looks old but still rather beautiful and she is very lively and active and mentally on the spot – and as political as ever. Sarah is a barrister and, according to Jean, hasn’t cared to marry because ‘ since she took to the law, she has seen so much of what marriage lets you in for’.  Sarah is rather plump but quite nice looking.

Seeing Jean made me happy; I think if I lived here I’d see a lot of her”

Christopher Isherwood, April 24th 1970

 

Sadly, this would be the last time they met. Isherwood returned to the United States and three years later, on April 27th 1973,  Jean died of cervical cancer at her home in Barnes, south west London. She was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium on May 4th 1973.

(Pic: Jean Ross by Humphrey Spender, 1931)

It is entirely appropriate that today, April 24th 2014, a new production of Cabaret has its opening night at Studio 54 in  New York.

Alongside Alan Cumming reviving his role as the MC is Michelle Willams in the iconic role of Sally Bowles.

( Michelle Williams at Sally Bowles cafe-bar in Berlin, January 2014. Pic: Brendan Nash)

http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/Cabaret.aspx

 

 

 

 

Posted in History, People | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: Gayle Tufts ‘Love’

Gayle Tufts ‘Love!’

at The Tipi am Kanzleramt.

 

(pic: Jan Wirdeier)

Gayle Tufts’ new show is all about love in its many, many forms. The titular opening song makes this unequivocal case from the very start:

“Love – the reason that I wake up every day

 Love – the reason that a young man knows he’s gay

 Love – it’s here inside my heart

 It’s a place to start”

 

The show is also about this American-born entertainer’s love for her adopted country of Germany – its traditions, foibles, hang-ups, men and, of course, its leader.

In true Weimar tradition, the powerful are never too big to be made fun of from a cabaret stage, and Frau Merkel is no exception. A hilarious re-working of the Carly Rae Jepson hit ‘Call Me, Maybe’ sees the Bundeskanzlerin pleading with the world to love her and also nicely references the alleged phone-tapping activities of the US secret services.

 

Accompanied on the piano by the magnificent Marian Lux and the surprisingly game-for-it string trio ‘Strings de Lux’  the combination of re-imagined covers and original songs come thick and fast. A stand-out moment of the first half being the very beautiful “The One That Got Away”, especially written for the show by Tufts and Lux.

(pic: Jan Wirdeier)

In preparing for the show, Gayle Tufts asked her followers on social media to suggest their favourite love songs and was, unsurprisingly, deluged with offerings of heartbreak and woe! The 11-song ‘Break-up Medley’ that closes the first half is a hilarious journey through the work of  Adele, Elton John, Prince and Dolly Parton. Finally, someone gets it – ‘I Will Always Love You’ is not a cutesy love song by any stretch of the imagination but a tale of utter despair.

The second half opens with Ms.Tufts dressed as a bee. Why? “because I fucking want to”  and there you have it! A unique performer in her own right, it doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to see the influences of the likes of Bette Midler at work here – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

The ‘love’ theme continues with the German adoration of both football and Schlager music on Saturday night TV shows, and then brings us back into more traditional territory of the songs of Irving Berlin.

(pic: Jan Wirdeier)

This show is a masterclass in ‘Denglish’ – stories starting in German end in English and vice versa. The two languages flip-flop throughout and even with the shakiest grasp on either, the audience is never left wondering what is going on.

 

A first-night standing ovation at the Tipi and worthy of continued packed houses.

 

 

Tipi am Kanzleramt

8 April to 4th March 2014

Tuesday to Saturday 20:00 (entry from 18:30)

Sunday 19:00 ( entry from 17:30)

Tickets: €20.80 to €34.50

030 39 06 65 50

www.tipi-am-kanzleramt.de

www.gayle-tufts.de

Posted in Shows | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment