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.