It was nothing short of perfection. Graeme Murphy’s Berlin is extraordinary, and what a way to say goodbye.
Originally created in 1995, this piece paradoxically evokes feelings of both apocalypse and hope. As the house lights went down and the violent lightning struck it felt like the end before the beginning.
A motley crew of Berlin’s inhabitants gather in a bomb shelter and share pieces of their lives. While they remain separate from each other in many ways their predicament and unified desires keeps them sewn together with the finest of threads.
We meet Annabel Knight’s cabaret singer first. She is languorous and sultry with a hardened heart and a craving for the attention of all.
The genius musical score by Iva Davies and Max Lambert deftly combines original music with powerful covers. Frank Sinatra’s All The Way is executed by an angel-winged, Same Same 25’er iOTA with his usual brilliance. At times the ethereal quality of his voice overshadows even the most beautiful dance. This is not a bad thing, iOTA’s presence is absolutely necessary, it’s difficult to imagine any other performer with his omnipresence.
Heaven, originally performed by the Talking Heads, undergoes sublime metamorphosis with iOTA at the helm.
Even in such dark times we all need love.
A cross dressing Reed Luplau and Officer, Simon Turner find love and more in the arms of one another. With restrained eroticism the pair move with the vigour of a last dance. Their intensity is collectively mirrored by the rest of the company against the words of the Psychedelic Furs’ Sister Europe.
The tumultuous affair between the ever-studious Intellectual (Connor Dowling) and the Street Girl (Chylie Cooper) seems shrouded in darkness, her imminent passing is never kept a secret.
We also need light. Something that doesn’t have to be taken too seriously even when there is a strong possibility that the end is near.
The Strong Man (Angus Woodyard), the Clown (Kalman Warhaft) and the Acrobat (Tracey Carrodus) provide us with just that. The circus troupe emphasises the transience of the place and its occupiers.
The choreography is viciously political and confronting at times; only emphasising the mercurial nature of Berlin and its good and bad times.
With a shower of bricks and destruction a new light begins to shine, the angel continues watching from above and Berlin begins all over again.
Graeme Murphy’s Berlin plays at the Theatre Royal, King Street Sydney, from 9 to 27 October 2007 before touring to the Playhouse at QPAC, Cnr Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Bank from 29 Nov to 8 Dec 2007.