Barry Humphries, better known as alter ego Dame Edna Everage, presents a repertoire of cabaret classics from Weimar Germany complete with full jazz orchestra and delightfully elegant cabaret artist Meow Meow.
This is a passion project from Humphries who fell in love with Weimar cabaret in his youth after discovering a trove of sheet music in Melbourne, smuggled out of Germany by a fugitive from the Nazis.
This is his tribute to the bravery of that man, and the German, mainly Jewish, composers who were either forgotten, or forced to take any menial work they could get after emigrating to America.
At 84, Humphries remains at the top of his game, providing fascinating commentary and context for the music, and adding his own comedic flourishes to the performance. His co-star, the terrific Meow Meow, embodies the spirit of the times with her emotive performance and superb singing in English and German.
The band are also excellent through the surprisingly eclectic mix of music. They are clearly as passionate about the project as Humphries, particularly the lead violinist who even takes to the mic for a duet with Meow Meow. And as in the film Cabaret
, the ominous parallels to our own time endure.
Insightful, funny and relevant, Weimar Cabaret is a unique blend of music, history and comedy that stands as testament to the diversity of its creator’s talents.
Weimar Cabaret is on at the Barbican until 29 July.