I can't say I'm much of a regular theatre-goer, nor can I say seeing a show is top of my list whilst I am travelling or on a holiday abroad. Usually my typical travel itinerary will prioritise sightseeing, food, hunting down a favourite bar, vintage shopping and maybe some art if I'm feeling particularly cultured that day. But, you know what? Sometimes going to the same bar in a city night-after-night can get a little repetitive, so why not change up routine with a trip to the theatre instead?!
A few weeks ago I was invited along to view the new Scotch & Soda show at the CHAMÄLEON theatre whilst I was visiting Berlin. The show is aptly described as a 'whiskey-soaked evening of circus and jazz that will leave you amazed, amused and ready to join the party'. It was actually my first experience of seeing a theatrical show whilst outside of the UK (well, other than a show in Disney World when I was a kid, but we won't count that) and I've got to say, it's really opened my mind up to considering seeking out different shows during my next city break.
The theatre itself is tucked away in the beautiful, winding courtyards of Hackeschen Höfen in the Berlin-Mitte district (just a few minutes walk away from the Hackeschen Markt S-Bahn station). The Hackeschen Höfen is a heritage site that is well known for it's eight interconnecting eight courtyards including that where the theatre sits. The courtyard that acts as the entrance for CHAMÄLEON boasts a rich, exquisite early 20th century exterior unlike no other; unfortunately my photos of the architecture just do not do it justice at all! To fully appreciate it's beauty, you have to stand in the centre of the courtyard and gaze up at the art nouveau facade that is graced with striking shades of blue tiles that build their way up towards the Berlin sky. CHAMÄLEON Theater is actually housed within a former ballroom and specialises in new contemporary circus shows, including the likes of boutique, Australian performance group, Company 2, whom are the the creative minds behind Scotch & Soda.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the welcoming Dagmar and Hendrick from the team at CHAMÄLEON and were whisked to the best seats in the house on the balcony. The balcony seats overlook the rest of the intimate yet grandly decorated theatre and we soon made ourselves comfortable ready for the show with a glass of bubbly in hand. The first noticeable trait of the theatre is the audience layout that lies beneath the stage; instead of the traditional rows upon rows of seats, you're presented with a small scattering of candlelit dinner tables facing the stage that are much more reminiscent of a 1920's jazz club. Doors open an hour or so before the show, so guests are even welcome to order food from a selection of dishes before the show begins.
Before arriving in Berlin, I hadn't really researched the show nor scoped out any previous reviews, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. In fact, my blissful ignorance made the anticipation of the show all the more exciting and much more surprising! For that reason I'll try to review the show without giving too much away as it's definitely one you need experience yourself.
The show itself was unlike anything I had ever seen before and had me transfixed throughout the entire performance. It was two hours long with a fifteen minute interval for a toilet break and a chance to order some more drinks, but it the time honestly flew by whilst we were watching!
The cast were made up of several physical performers and a lively jazz band who provided not only the soundtrack throughout the entire show, but also each had their own moment in the spotlight during their solo musical performances. The show was a high energy, intense display of daring acrobatics that had the audience gasping in awe. From stunning, graceful aerial aerobics to a gravity-defying balancing acts, the performers conjured a contagious energy and enthusiasm that run throughout the audience. However despite all the teeth clenching moments, the performers injected elements of light-hearted, slapstick comedy within their acts that was reminiscent of the 20s Charlie Chaplin era.
If you're planning on seeing the show (you really, really should if you're in Berlin), expect lots of thrills, belly laughs, gasps and confetti! Scotch & Soda at CHAMÄLEON is running until August 2017 and tickets start from just 39€.