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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 21:42

Lost in the Stars: Cabaret Review

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This week, Pirates Productions is putting on its new show “Lost in the Stars” at the Veräinshaus in Schifflange; on Wednesday evening, The Luxembourg Chronicle sat in on the dress rehersal, with the opening performance scheduled for Thursday evening.

This production, written and produced by Rachel Parker, tells the love story of German composer Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya and their open relationship, through cabaret-style performances of the former’s most popular songs, and through dance, narration, drama as well as photo and film projections.

Kurt Weill was known for his writing of theatre music, having started in Weimar Germany before moving to the USA where he then wrote for Broadway and the film industry. During his life, he saw some momentous events as a Jew forced to flee Germany, as well as his turbulent two marriages to the actress and singer Lotte Lenya. Such events are reflected in his music.

The production starts in Weimar Germany before the outbreak of war, then moves to the USA where Weill adapted his style for American audiences on Broadway and in film with songs such as Mack the Knife and September Song. Along the way, the audience is introduced to characters such as Bertolt Brecht, George and Ira Gerschwin from the golden age of American music.

The production is supported by a 5-piece live band with projections on a backdrop depicting the people, places and events of the show, with narration - with most of the cast taking their turn - interspersed throughout to recount the story using anecdotes and different locations, from Germany to Paris and then on to the US.

Randy Melton and Ciara Barker get the show off to a truly powerful start with their wonderful ranges of vocals; soon Kurt Weill (Alex Teligadas) and Lotte Lenya (Ciara Barker) meet and fall in love. But they are by no means the only performers to excel in this production which featured many jazz songs adapted for stage dramas and films, not by a long shot. During Rachel Parker's own performance once could hear a pin drop as she held the audience and the rest of the cast spellbound.

Some were serious and some less so, resulting a very balanced cabaret repetoire featuring the very best of Pirates, with some songs also in French. And the costumes must be mentioned too - very representative of the era and the situations / locations such as music halls.

After the interval, during which a meal is served, the music style and tempo revved up a notch, coinciding with Kurt Weill's and Lotte Lenya's arrival in America, With some wonderful clarinet playing on stage adding to the atmosphere. A large flag is used to great effect to facilitate costume changes, one by one, featuring well-known US characters, from Charlie Chaplain to the Statue of Liberty and many more besides.

The venue is new to Pirates and its productions and audiences; like the cabaret format itself, the venue is strikingly similar to the Parish hall in Gasperich more frequently used. Rest assured, the acoustics in the Veräinshaus are excellent, and the proximity of the tables to the stage area make for a truly immersed experience, particularly when part of the action and singing takes place among the audience.

The show dates are Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 May at 19:30, with additional shows on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May at 15:30.

Tickets cost €17 for adults, €12 for children and students, or €13 for food. For reservations, see www.pirateproductions.lu/Public/CurrentShow.php or contact the box office on tel: 356339 or email: tickets@pirates.lu

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