November 6 at Republique
Like a fly on the wall of a hip 1930s bar, you feel almost overstimulated as your eyes dart around the stylish clutter of the set. Dapper gents and dolled-up broads lie nonchalantly strewn around the room: some recline on the velvet sofa clutching silver wine cups, while others flip cards and fiddle with record players. It’s an unperturbed start to the evening for the musicians of Berlin, as another night of debauchery slowly looms.
The mood quickly turns as the first of the eight characters moves to centre stage. Immediately thrust into motion, the tales of decadence and despair are gripping, filling you with joy, wonder and absolute amusement as the ladies man dressed in red sings about the woes of women, and the sultry temptress in green entices with her soulful ballads.
Cabaret Brise-Jour is an entirely self-sufficient machine running on raw talent and improvised sound, as instruments, appearing to be nothing more than strange props, are literally plucked from the set. It’s an intricately layered performance in which the tapping of typewriters, spray of perfume bottles and squeaking of rusty hinges create the harmonious background melodies.
The show can only be described as a display of pure creativity made up of seamlessly intertwined performances as characters transform, constantly changing identities and instruments. Even the complex lighting was seemingly controlled by a single lamp on stage as characters took turns to tug on the tiny beaded string to find the perfect ambience.
By the end of the night, the garments fly on and off, champagne tumbles from glasses onto beating drums, and the telephone rings off the hook. A truly unique tribute to the classics of German composer Kurt Weill, the experimental show transcends from beautiful to manic and leaves you almost bemused by the amount of talent and ingenuity.