Songs banned by Nazis prove popular: Effigies Of Wickedness extends

24 Apr
Posted in: Theatre News
Author: Staff
Le Gateau Chocolat

Riotous cabaret EFFIGIES OF WICKEDNESS (Songs Banned by the Nazis), a rare musical offering at west London's Gate Theatre, has extended until 9 June 2018, with a cast including drag artist Le Gateau Chocolat and Triple Threat's Lucy McCormick...

Ellen McDougall’s inaugural season as Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre concludes with Effigies of Wickedness (Songs Banned by the Nazis), a riotous cabaret performance, which is already shaping up to be such a box office hit that an extension to the run has been announced prior to the production opening, with further tickets released due to popular demand. This collaboration between the Gate Theatre and English National Opera, is directed by McDougall. It now runs from 3 May to 9 June 2018, with a press night 14 May.

As the Nazis identified difference as something to be afraid of, the Weimar Kabarett scene danced on with songs that celebrated it. With music from Brecht and Weill to Schoenberg, this subversive underground scene was bursting at the seams with brilliant, visionary artists.  No surprise then, that they were censored, exiled and incarcerated shortly after as ‘degenerates’.  And their songs have been all but lost since. 

Ellen McDougall, talking about the collaboration, said:

"It has been enormously exciting to make a collaboration with ENO, an organisation over 30 times our size, and whose Artistic Director Daniel Kramer previously directed groundbreaking productions of Hair and Woyzeck for the Gate. Working together means we can make a production of much bigger scope – including a live, 4-piece band and 4 incredibly talented performers. It is a testament to the incredible songs from the Weimar Kabarett scene that the project has attracted such a wealth of talent to both make and perform in the piece – including Christopher Green, Seiriol Davies, Le Gateau Chocolat and Lucy McCormick.  Our season will end with a defiant musical celebration of difference, diversity, and freedom of expression."

The unique event brings together several figures in the London theatrical and cabaret scene who between them have originated a variety of highly-praised individual projects. Lyricist Seiriol Davies is the brains behind the breakout fringe hit that transferred to the Young Vic How to Win Against History while Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat used cabaret to scandalously retell the New Testament, becoming one of the most talked-about shows of the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe. 

Le Gateau Chocolat’s ‘life-enhancing, roof-lifting cabaret’ (The Stage) performances have been a cabaret favourite for years, but he has also brought his talents to bear with London’s larger theatre companies, including appearances in Rufus Norris’ Threepenny Opera (National Theatre, 2016) and Emma Rice’s Twelfth Night (The Globe, 2017). Christopher Green’s multifaceted and always provocative work has taken in stage hypnotism, drag, music hall and most recently the conceptual show about pornography at Southbank Centre, transferring to the New York Guggenheim Museum, Prurience.

Baritone Peter Brathwaite has been working with the music banned by the Nazis for years, with his show Degenerate Music premiering in 2014 at the London Song Festival. Effigies of Wickedness represents the full development of the ideas and songs he has been performing since then. Also appearing is mezzo-soprano Katie Bray, a singer with ENO and other UK opera companies. She has been seen in ENO’s sensational production of Akhnaten and in the children’s opera The Way Back Home.