At the bottom of a tilted catwalk swirling in dry ice stands a microphone, set almost as high as the capacity audience’s expectations of in-house director Yael Ronen’s new musical comedy. A silhouette appears behind a shimmering tinsel circle, revealing cancelled come-back musician Gustav – Lindy Larsson in a blonde wig – who strides down the walkway, launches into the opening number, segues into an accordion-accompanied drive-by of culturally appropriated songs from former albums he’s not going to sing us, then places his mid-life-crisis-stricken heart onto his beautiful jacket sleeve. Expectations settle even higher; unreliable narrator #1 established.
Stefano di Buduo’s complex and exquisite video scenography steps up to frame the power-playing women one by one: Riah May Knight’s crushed-on, calculating toy-animal-clad TikTok pop star Sky (costume!); Anastasia Gubareva’s hard-arsed editor/cheated-on Klara; and Vidina Popov’s ruthless, righteous journalist Stanka. But the script sticks on Gustav a little too long until these three characters are fully released from the wings in all their glory.
The whole cast is somewhere on the titular slippery slope of life’s post-truth era grey zones, with Emre Aksizoğlu filling two character’s shoes with clear-cut precision and getting one of the biggest laughs of the night. The five can all really belt out an excellent song, which they do, one timely and versatile Shlomi Shaban hit after another moving the action forward, to much applause, and ultimately even a standing ovation after the earworm finale. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Slippery Slope, Nov 9-10, 19:30, Dec 12 & 19, 18:00, Gorki Maxim Theater, in English with German surtitles