How can we go back to normal after COVID lockdowns? OK, the question might be a little passé by this stage, but musical theatre collective Opera Lab Berlin offers a surprisingly moving and original take on the well-worn topic.
In a dilapidated former warehouse-turned-artist colony Kreuzberg, the audience is invited to choose their own adventure among five performers. Armed with various musical instruments and their own voices, they start the show isolated in their own literal boxes, where we are shown humdrum lockdown activities writ large.
In a dilapidated former warehouse-turned-artist colony Kreuzberg, the audience is invited to choose their own adventure
Composition from Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning is reworked and hits the right tone, with repetitive interludes that hammer home the message of boredom. Projections and a huge tent, as well as a nice use of microphones to distort where voices are coming from, keep the audience on their toes. At some point, in fact, you desperately want the immersive period to be even bigger and to allow the performers to escape their repetitive actions and maybe take you elsewhere — which, I suppose, ultimately is the point.
The choreography that comes when this breakout finally happens was probably the most jarring part of the show, leaving me a bit cold, but otherwise this is a highly original piece of immersive musical theatre. Well worth a look; bring a jacket and sensible shoes.
- The Great (Re)Learning Am Flutgraben 3, Kreuzberg, 25-28 November ★★★★