EDINBURGH-BASED Tightlaced Theatre and Sporadic Music transport you back to the evening when Hitler took Chancellorship over Germany in 1933.
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Susanna Mulvihill’s immersive debut feature takes us to one of Berlin’s seditious cabaret nightspots, Anke’s. One half cabaret, filled with sing-songs, burlesque and the occasional comedy skit, the other is a harsh realisation of fear for Germany’s future.
Mulvihill’s approach to her script is certainly a clever, and unique, idea. The revival of cabaret and burlesque shows of the 1920s and 30s has been growing in popularity over the years.
However, Mulvihill chooses to put this “celebration” into reality, by bringing to life the dread and mistrust that was not only spreading in the clubs, but also across Europe.
Once entering The Summerhall’s Dissection Room, you’re immediately whisked into the nightclub scene of 1930s Germany. As some of the scantily-clad performers greet you as you enter, the remaining cast gawk at you from the balcony above. The aim of this is to not only immerse you into the era, but to also open up something that’s politically engaging.
With the story set in two halves, one being the actual cabaret itself and the other being the story happening around the audience, the script, becomes too rich at times. With so much happening at once, it can, occasionally, become too overbearing to handle, and you can find yourself loosing sight of the characters and what’s actually happening within the story. However, the actual cabaret acts themselves, with live musical accompaniment and lyrics by Edinburgh’s own Fiona Thom and Bev Wright, are entertaining. Musical numbers like Everybody Wants To Be A Nazi is not only reminiscent of Mel Brooks’ Springtime For Hitler, but also brings to light the harsh reality of what will inevitably happen to these characters beyond the doors of this fictional nightspot.
Mulvihill’s concept for her script is indeed a bold one. It’s just unfortunate that there’s not much in terms of a story, resulting in Mulvihill’s message not coming across as strong. However, lovers of cabaret will no doubt take some glee within the evening’s festivities.
• Run ends February 2