Half-baked Halbwelt Kultur
Otto Dix's portrait of Anita Berber
(Currently turning in her grave)
Last night I went to see Halwelt Kultur at the Jermyn Theatre. I went with great expectations and came home with them shredded.
Trite, and lukewarm amdram to the choirgirl end, it would have been passable as a sixth form end of year show. A cheap (OK, not so so cheap £20 if you want to pay with a card) dull history lesson that failed to scratch the surface of Berlin's Weimar. The (non)action was supposedly staged in chronological order, how strange therefore that Rosa Luxemburg was stuck after Berber in the 1920s (she was murdered Jan 1919). Let's not get started with the cliched faux lesbian titillation...
Clean and neat, the all-female cast members were poorly directed, perhaps there was no direction at all. Singing as prettily as possible was never the point at a Weimar cabaret, charming though some of them were, the original 'Berlinerin' would have spat them out after eating them for breakfast.
Blandly staged conjuring zero atmosphere, the only danger came from needing to go to loo in the middle of the show since the exit was next to the stage. Neither German realism or Neue Sachlichkeit touched the stage or cast, generally debauched as a saucy sketch show at Butlins. If you want a history lesson there are livelier books.