Schnapps for all! The self-proclaimed “gentrification farce” Zum Feuchten Eck an der Sonnenallee (The Wet Corner on Sonnenallee) addresses the G-word on everyone’s lips with a mixtape of cleverly written songs and a cast which pinpoints the stereotypes and clichés of those involved in Neukölln’s rapid transition.
Following the struggle of three working women who were put on this Earth to serve beer and sing songs, the play sees a caricatured investor attempt to buy out the “Feuchte Eck” corner pub from old-time Berliner bargirl Marianne, thus snubbing out the last glowing spark of Neukölln’s drinking culture and epitomising the suffocation of tradition by the hand of economic avarice. But the everyday heroes of Sonnenallee aren’t going down without a fight! Marianne, Jule the “amusement lady” (read: entertainer and probable prostitute) and cuddly cleaner Mietze capture our hearts from the get-go – helped along by the schnapps shots passed around the audience by their faithful booze boy Ritchie – as we are taken on a theatrical journey of the struggle to save the Kneipe culture of the Kiez.
Although native Germans may benefit more from the gags reliant on dialects, the English surtitles bring the superbly written script to Berlin’s international crowd, with sharp, relevant humour which pokes fun at the politicians and hipsters of Neukölln. The characters are textbook portraits of the Berliners we know and love, whilst the old drinking songs and tweaked international hits ensure that the house is full of good cheer throughout. Overall, Zum Feuchten Eck an der Sonnenallee proves to be the perfect hybrid of highly entertaining musical theatre and a well-informed discussion on the process of gentrification with Neukölln’s own struggle at its heart; a local comedy with international allure.
Originally published in issue #135, February 2015