Broadway Baby

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Far from the madding crowd (and the Royal Mile), the Hill Street Theatre is hosting one of the most haunting, gut-wrenching pieces of theatre at the Fringe this year. Equal parts monologue and cabaret act, '33 (A Kabarett) follows a nameless ‘vanquished impresario’ of a Berlin nightclub, his makeup smeared and his costume trunk upended, as he relives the destruction of his sometime home, his friends, and his audiences: all slaughtered one-by-one, he tells us, by the incoming Nazi regime. We must flee to save ourselves, the MC tells us – he too must avoid the mistakes made by his departed friends and learn to ‘blend in’ with the new world order.

But first, he must honour those he has lost, and honour them he does; assuming the roles of song-and-dance man Rodrigo, Brooklyn-born clown Milton, and a departed female lover in turn, performing songs and routines in a series of melancholy elegies for their world gone by. ‘I Never Do Anything Twice’ is a particular highlight here, as is an extended stand-up sequence told in the throaty fuggedaboutit-ese of Milton, whose humor masks a barely contained rage at the injustice overtaking his adopted city.

Written and performed with breathtaking stamina by Bremner Duthie, '33 is compelling throughout. While at times the dialogue and acting borders on the self-consciously mannered (this is very much an actor's monologue) such stylisation nevertheless works well for the performative setting; we are never allowed to forget that we are, after all, in the world of the cabaret.

Other Fringe cabarets might be sexier, more glamorous, performed with more sequins and sparkle. But for sheer emotion, unvarnished and raw, Duthie's evocation of a vanished world is more than worth the trek to the Hill Street Theatre. It'd be worth a flight to Berlin.

Venue Number 41. Hill Street Theatre, 19 Hill Street, EH2 3JP. 1-25 August 19:00 (1 hour 5 minutes). Suitability: U.

The Blurb

One final, desperate show! The vanquished impresario of a ruined Berlin cabaret takes the stage to honour his lost friends. 'Stunning' (Vue Magazine). 'Utterly arresting' ( 'Incredible one-man show' ( 'A joy to watch' (NoLa Defender).

Call Sheet

Production Company
Bremner Duthie
Big Empty Barn Productions

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