Fabulett 1933

Picture the scene.. 1930's Berlin. An underground club awaits an eager audience for the show to begin. A solitary German soldier in typical World War I uniform is on stage, hooking the audience from his simple presence while a cavalcade of sound effects, guns, bombs and more set the scene. Behind him is a simple projection that quotes part of the famous poem of the era - On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Immediately we see his shell-shock and panic, setting the backdrop for a completely different scenario. We then switch to the heart of the play called Fabulett 1933. A show that is reminiscent of the infamous musical Cabaret with a duo of piano player and a rather fetishly glamorous Emcee, sharing his personal life as an artist and the life of the real life underground club 'Fabulett'. This place was home to those who identified as queer, lesbian, gender-neutral and anything in between during an era which was troubled due to same-sex relationships being frowned upon, yet at the same time was part of the accepted way of living when official backs were deliberately turned.

This is not just a show. This is an awakening.

Michael Trauffer creates this special show to celebrate these individuals who risked their lives to just be authentically themselves, as well as pay a subtle nod to those today who are wanting to be free. Using a mixture of fiction and fact, Trauffer pays tribute to real life figures who made a difference in this culture, including Dr Magnus Hirschfeld (also known as Auntie Magnesia to those who knew him well). Hirschfield was one of the first in his field to explore the idea of changing sex via surgery. Whilst this is more accepted today, back then Hirschfield was classed as the 'Einstein of Sex' as he explored this new territory.

Our lovable Emcee does the same here by taking us through his troubled relationships with his parents when he first starts wearing his mother's clothes at the age of eight. Trauffer cleverly integrates several genres to indicate fragile mindsets of people of his kind, such as musical theatre, cabaret, Brecht and monologues using himself as the main link to connect with the audience. Whilst he brings the glamour, sass and magic of the Emcee to the surface, he gradually reveals what really happens behind the scenes of a performer of this kind. It's not an easy journey, but it's one we engage with on not just the entertainment factor (musically accompanied by James Hall). It's the strong, impactful emotional journey that is the real hook into his mind.

With amazing outfits, songs and comedic timing, Trauffer and Hall make the perfect couple as we learn all the secrets behind the 'glitz' of this infamous performance space that closed in 1933 and what it's really like to be different. This is not just a show. This is an awakening.

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Reviews by Sascha Cooper

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Berlin, February 1933, the new German leadership orders the closure of all ‘venues which promote immorality’. But Felix, the emcee of the depraved Fabulett, still has a story to tell. Set at the transition from one of the most liberal societies of its time with the world’s first gay rights movement, where the first queer anthem was composed, one of the first gay-themed movies was made, and the first gender-affirming surgeries were performed, to one of the biggest tragedies in human history, Fabulett 1933 deals with the fragility of achievements of a society and the struggle of visibility. Fabulett 1933 is a new queer one-person musical with an original story and score, featuring music, ideas and lives classified as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. Following its critically acclaimed run at the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fabulett 1933 is now coming to Brighton Fringe.

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