'33 - a one-man Weimar musical

Bremner

'33 (a kabarett) 

playing at the NYC Fringe Festival Oct 14th to 21st, 2018

tickets and info at New York Fringe

 

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Written and performed by Bremner Duthie,

original direction by Dave Dawson

new direction by Joseph Furnari

dramaturgy by Caroline Russell-King and Rob Burns

original choreography by Julie Tomaino and Barry Stoneking and Tracy Darin  

 

Some short clips from the music from '33

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’33 is a 'Kabarett of Ghosts' - a performance piece that recreates the final night in a cabaret, destroyed by the Security Forces. 

In the ruins of a ravaged theatre, The Master of Ceremonies tumbles onto a stage ripped apart by violence. His friends and colleagues were beaten and arrested by the authorities.  Only their shattered props and costumes remain.  His own songs have shattered and emerge in fragments.  He intends to give up and vanish into the night. But an audience has slipped through the broken door. They wait, partly in solidarity, partly voyeurs, hoping for a spectacle. Inspired, the man pays homage to his fallen friends, performing each of their acts – the sexual play of the showgirl, the revolutionary humour of the comedian, the movement of the light footed dancer. In these tributes, he gains the strength to carry on.

The show connects that past period with attacks on culture happening around the world.  It is a re-enactment of a ritual that repeats through history. '33 focuses on Weimar Berlin between the wars, but spirals out to reference more modern events.

It has been performed at festivals across North America, to full houses and critical acclaim.  Bremner sings 9 songs from the era that are woven into the show, accompanied by a contemporary jazz quartet, that layers new interpretations onto the classic old songs.

’33, a Kabarett  runs 70 minutes without intermission.  It contains 9 songs, which can either be accompanied with live piano or small ensemble, or with a specially-recorded backtrack, recorded by a Parisian jazz ensemble.

 

 

Reviews -

---"he will have you close to tears one moment and laughing the next - an absolute joy to watch"

- New Orleans Defender Magazine

---"an incredible one-man show....brilliant acting"

- PBS America

---"a stunning theatrical accomplishment.."

- VUE Magazine, Edmonton

---"a riveting, intentionally disturbing, vulnerable, brash, sensitive performance"

- London Theatre Blog

---"frozen in that moment between rational thought and madness."

- Orlando Sentinel

---"it may not make you feel good, but what it will do is take your breath away"

- Montreal Theatre Blog

---" Duthie... is utterly arresting as the vanquished impresario of a ruined cabaret,

- Orlandotheatre.com 

---"a truly mesmerizing piece of theatre"

- Edmonton Journal

 

 

 

 

Edmonton's Vue Magazine

"Set amongst the turmoil of Nazi Germany, the one-man musical spectacle of ’33 (a kabarett) is a stunning theatrical accomplishment. Using nothing but a microphone and a few props scattered around the stage, Bremner Duthie works his way through costume changes, song and dance numbers, a myriad of character transformations and an entire spectrum of emotions—all while openly including the audience as active participants in the show. Duthie’s vocal and acting chops are both incredibly impressive, covering everything from a crass comedy routine to mournful songs of loss and desperation. The result is an entire variety show of undeniable entertainment."

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Orlando Sentinel:

’33 is a gem of a show, frozen in a moment in time—the rise of fascism in the 1930s—but also beautiful frozen in that moment between rational thought and madness. Haunted, Bremner Duthie steps carefully around a deserted cabaret theater where overturned suitcases and discarded frocks remind him of his theater friends.

 He questions how tyranny can be allowed to flourish: “Why now?” he asks. “Because they can. Because no one says anything anymore.” The recollections of his friends—taken by “them”—spur songs in Duthie’s rich voice: an eerie “We’re in the Money,” a disturbing “Mack the Knife,” among them.

 Most telling (and most frightening): A monologue about how the whole world will be one happy family (when those who aren’t wanted are removed), delivered against a backdrop of “Ode to Joy”—which has never sounded so sinister before. This engrossing cabaret of the shadows comes with a warning as Duthie’s emcee character ponders removing his individuality and just blending in. After all, he says, if he dresses in “normal” clothes, no one will know the difference. “They don’t tattoo artists…” he whispers, “…yet.”

Orlandotheatre.com: 

“The sound of the marching of jack-booted troopers permeates ‘33, Bremner Duthie’s oddly gripping tribute to French and German cabaret during the Nazi years of the 1930s. You can’t always hear the ominous sounds of boots outside the door. But, as Duthie sings his songs, you know that they’re there…..Duthie himself, with his shaved head, haunted face and gorgeously delicate baritone, is utterly arresting as the vanquished impresario of a ruined cabaret, haltingly gathering his paltry things together before he tries to escape into the dark...”

Ottawa Citizen

Duthie’s riveting show – it’s about the suppression of culture that inevitably accompanies the slow creep of authoritarianism – focuses on the emcee of a now-closed cabaret. “They called us a threat to public morality,” he tells us.

The emcee pays broken-hearted tribute to his old friends the cabaret performers by reenacting some of their songs and routines. We are the audience, both literally and within Duthie’s story. The performers, ghosts really, include a torch singer of easy virtue to whom Duthie, bare-chested and wearing a skirt, gives poignant voice.

More disquieting is a red-nosed clown modeled on Jimmy Durante. He insults the audience and thumbs his nose at the authorities in classic 1930s cabaret style before morphing into a speechifying demagogue driving home a message about morality and family values that echoes the tone of the Republican leadership race in the United States (in the post-show talkback, Duthie said he’d stitched together that part of the script using scraps from one of Hitler’s rants and snippets of a Tea Party speech).

Elsewhere, Duthie gives us snatches of song and half-completed sentences in several languages. It’s as though he’s reminding us that language in the hands of power-hungry rulers is a dangerous tool, one that can rob us of our freedom of expression and leave us as broken as the songs and sentences he utters....

 Aside from the title, the 1930s-era songs and some references, there’s little about the show that links it specifically to pre-war Germany. Which is Duthie’s point: we have to always be on guard against the powerful and our own urge to capitulate.  As the emcee says ominously earlier in the show, referencing Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, “They’re going to make it nice. Everything will run on time – the trains, you.”

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The Visitorium, Ottawa

"’33 – A KABARETT, written by and starring the bloody amazing Bremner Duthie, and directed by local hero Dave Dawson.... this beautiful piece, set in a ruined theatre during the rise of the Nazi regime... begins with a performer emerging onto the stage in darkness, shaking, terrified, scanning the remnants of his stage with a flashlight, and surprised to discover an audience, waiting for a show.  And what a show we do get, based loosely on the real-life fate of the Eldorado Theatre.  Torn between an urgent desire to flee and the ‘show must go on’ impulse, Bremner’s emcee character reluctantly tells us the story of his Kabarett’s fall at the hands of authoritarianism, through song, dance, and a little more song.  And the songs…folks, you have not LIVED until you’ve heard Bremner Fletcher Duthie sing ‘Mack the Knife’ to you.  He has a gift for taking these classics and weaving them beautifully into his plays, and he’s getting better and better at it, from what I can tell.  With a few costume changes, musings on the nature of art vs. the state, and a goddamn gorgeous voice, Bremner guides us through despair and terror, oppression and hopelessness, and into something else entirely…it’s all really quite beautiful to behold.  Shows like this don’t happen very often, folks."

 

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Bloggers --

London

---"Bremner Duthie brings an expressive baritone voice, filled with musical and dramatic range, and a wonderful use of physicality (whether he's walking, posing, or soft-shoeing) to the stage of the McManus. He can whisper, belt out show-tune style, tremble, soar, and his choice of interpretations (both vocal choices and the musical arrangements) left me in awe at times, going "Who would ever thought you could do THAT song THAT way?" Classic songs reinterpreted in new contexts include "Falling in Love Again" and "Mack the Knife". A riveting, intentionally disturbing, vulnerable, brash, sensitive performance"

---"This show honestly has something for everyone, from songs crooned masterfully to raunchy humour and sharp commentary. Particularly haunting (and effective) is Duthie’s use of props, like shoes and wigs, to represent those who have been purged before him—a stunning allusion to holocaust museums the world over.

In the end, I cannot stress enough how strong Duthie is in this masterfully constructed play—he brings the perfect amount of energy and emotion to the scenes to portray a broken and scared man, grown weary in a nation gone mad."

 

Montreal

---FIVE STARS "This is the best show I've seen so far. Crosses the line between touching and gut wrenching. The character is beautifully developed. Compelling performance that speaks to darker themes without losing it's sparkle. A must see for Brecht lovers or anyone with an interest in the political history of theatre.A touching love song to a bygone era" -

 

Edmonton

---FOUR STARS  "A must-see! This show combines music, nostalgia, tragedy, comedy, and cross-dressing into a one-of-a-kind experience."

---FIVE STARS "Absolutely wonderful. (And I can be a hard sell on cabaret!) Loved the dark melancholy mood, and the political parallels arguing what it means to be an artist in uncertain times. HIGHLY recommended!" 

 

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Kabarett – a brief history

In Germany, between WWI and WWII, Kabarett was the most important creative place for musical and theatrical experimentation.  Kabarett (as made popular in the musical ‘Cabaret’) was a form of musical theatre where the songs and skits often confronted and satirized the audience, instead of simply entertaining them. Satire, sex, scandal and humour flourished on stage, as song writers like Kurt Weill and Friedrich Hollaender created classic songs like ‘Mack the Knife’ and ‘Falling in Love Again’.  The stars of Kabarett were the brilliant Master of Ceremonies who mocked the political and social powers of the country. In the 1930’s, as the Nazis rose to power, they brutally suppressed the Kabaretts and those who dared to perform in them. Most of the MCs who did not escape ended their days in concentration camps.

 

'33, a kabarett is loosely based on the fate of the Eldorado Club in Berlin.   The Eldorado was featured in countless novels and contemporary guide books, including those by Christopher Isherwood. It featured regular performances by the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Claire Waldoff and the Weintraub Syncopators.  When Herman Goering ordered the closure of the Berlin Kabaretts the Eldorado was raided and closed down.  The Club was then taken over by the Nazis and used as a local headquarter.

 

 

 

 

 

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poster and cd design by Roxanna Bikadoroff

worldwide musical copyrights secured by

Deborah Evans at Della Publishing

 .pdf press release download

click here for print quality images

EdFringe reviews:

http://www.broadwaybaby.com/listing.php?id=20656

http://fringefan.info/

other reviews

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/08/17/fringe-dispatch-4-flying-solo/