A Queer Love of Dix

Cabaret and Variety (music, new writing)

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  • Hill Street Theatre - Alba Theatre
  • 14:00
  • Aug 25
  • 50 minutes
  • Suitability: 16+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Shortcut Productions and Aletia Upstairs
  • Warnings and additional info: Audience Participation
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 1 year

Description

This five-star show returns to the Fringe following last year's success. Set in the world of expressionist painter Otto Dix, as Julia Berber – Anita Berber’s fictional sister, Aletia Upstairs explores Weill, Brecht, and Weimar cabaret songs like Alabama Song, Falling in Love Again, Pirate Jenny, Barbara Song, Lavender Song and I am a Vamp. The not-so-famous Berber sister relates the Weimar period to contemporary events with a fair balance of pathos and comedy as well as audience singalongs. London's leading cabaret artiste extraordinaire, performs and sings up a storm. Simply wunderbar!

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: There are four flights of stairs into the venue.
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info


How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Patrick Harrington 88 days ago

Aletia Upstairs brought us an exploration of Weill, Brecht, and Weimar cabaret songs like “Alabama Song” and “I Am a Vamp”. Interspersed with the songs is an explanation of the cultural context of Weimar Germany which existed 1919 to 1933. For that short period, particularly in the Goldene Zwanziger (“Golden Twenties”) – roughly only really a five year period – which ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, there was a cultural and artistic explosion.

Aletia describes Weimar as a Utopia. It’s certainly true that gays were more accepted. According to ‘Queer Identities and Politics in Germany, A History 1880-1945’ at the heyday of the Weimar Republic, there were between 90 and 100 gay bars in Berlin frequented by gay men and lesbians.

Compared to the Nazi period which followed it is easy to see why many view Weimar with rose-tinted glasses. There were anti-gay laws on the books, however, but the majority of German police officers turned a blind eye to the bars. There was a big difference between rural attitudes to those in Berlin. There were also dire economic conditions, which, as today, affected people unequally. Not everyone was enjoying the high life of Berlin! That’s one of the factors that led to the rise of the Nazis who portrayed Weimar culture as both decadent and under foreign influence. Indeed they sought to disrupt many events. When they gained power the music was derided and proscribed. Homosexuals were persecuted and killed by their State.

This show is not a history lesson though. It centres on the songs of the period which have a power, and sometimes, biting emotional edge. “Pirate Jenny” with its dream of class revenge and Spoliansky’s ”It’s All a Swindle” with its condemnation of the corruption of the Political Class and cynicism toward general society stood out for me. As the song says: “The left betrays, the right dismays, the country’s broke and guess who pays?”. Perhaps that has a certain resonance in the UK today?

Aletia even works in some physical comedy (very well) in her performance of some of the songs.

Accompanying the songs are the harsh, brutal images of the expressionist artist Otto Dix. Dix didn’t shy away from depicting distorted human forms to expose vanity or the horror of war. They are a fitting accompaniment to the music.

Aletia gave a great performance full of passion and humour. The audience loved it.

The show ended with a performance of the “The Lavender Song” with the audience joining in. It was a song I had not been familiar with. It is a Cabaret song from 1920. It’s not a Weill or Brecht song. The music was composed by Mischa Spoliansky, and the lyrics were written by Kurt Schwabach. It is a song that accuses mainstream society and contains the great line: “they march in lockstep we prefer to dance”. A sentiment not just relevant to sexual freedom but freedom in general.

D & H Chartres 90 days ago

This was our first show of the Fringe this year. It is a thought provoking entertaining show that shouldn't be missed. We loved the performance.


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The Scotsman (3/5 stars) 87 days ago

Aletia Upstairs embodies Julia Berber – the fictional sister of Anita Berber, the historical figure famously painted in red by Otto Dix – to deliver a potent set of Weimar standards in this period-set cabaret. ...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.