REFLECTIONS | Berlin, Bar Jeder Vernunft

Recommended

Jack Woodhead’s new show Reflections is bruising, wounding cabaret in all its rabid, raucous splendour. After committing a murder – matricide – reflecting is Jack’s coping mechanism, a spectacular and intimate form of PTSD. Jack’s shimmering and darting reflections move with streamline precision towards redemption through loss of memory. In his own words, Jack searches “far and wide” for his forgotten inner child. He must remember what is forgotten, in order to forget what he remembers.

But did Jack murder his mother? Perhaps he’s just a little drunk, just a little lonely, sipping a tipple while sitting in a moth-eaten armchair in a cold flat in a dark windswept city no one has heard of. Perhaps he lives a life of quiet desperation that reaches sublime heights that no one will ever know.

Reflections is life seen through a peephole, magnified and whispered through art and alcohol. It shows how life can slap you around and you may just slap it back. It shows imagination as a corrective and rampart to reality. But though reality bites back, the siren call of the forgotten inner child, lured to the surface by alcohol, trauma, or simply by childlike wonder, can provide solace.

Somewhere between Beethoven and burlesque, with his band of four, Jack Woodhead manages to negotiate a musical metamorphosis from concert pianist to cabaret star. His dramatic make-up is only surpassed by his eccentric stage outfits. Flashy and provocative in nail varnish, leather, fur and sequins, he moves elegantly and sleekly across the stage. His performance is lightning fast, sharp as a razor and completely wacky.

Next playing 25 April and 13 June 2022 at Bar Jeder Vernunft, Berlin.

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PÉLLEAS ET MÉLISANDE | London, Playground Theatre

Recommended

Debussy’s celebrated 1902 opera, Pélleas et Mélisande, is the only opera he ever finished. Normally running (with intervals) at three hours, Opera on the Move’s new production has cut it down to 90 minutes straight through, with a cast of just six: three men, three women. Edited and rescored for two pianos by Peter Brook and Marius Constant, this is a dark tale, in which things are rarely as they seem.

Based on Maeterlinck’s inscrutable 1893 symbolist play, a stranger arrives in a strange land. Golaud (Benjamin Schilperoort) discovers Mélisande (Emilie Cavallo) in the forest. Enraptured and obsessed, he brings her home to be his wife. In this home of dying patriarchs, jealous minds and hopeless futures, it is not Golaud she sees, but his brother – Pélleas (Ben Thapa).

Directed by up-and-coming director Gareth Mattey, this new production embraces the surrealism of this fin-de-siècle masterpiece. True to the original, this scaled-down production will be performed in French with English surtitles.

London’s Playground Theatre in Latimer Road is the perfect place for Opera on the Move’s first fully staged opera, bringing together an international cast of singers and performers. Founded in 2018, Opera on the Move is a touring company based in London, who believe that opera is an exciting, engaging, and accessible art form, dedicated to bringing it to places it’s never been before.

Playing 8th and 10th May only. Book tickets online.

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