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KABARET VERBOTEN


QUOTES:

"Thought provoking...brilliant! Olivia Stevens is a colorful singing actress"

Ingrid Strömdal, Svenska Dagbladet


"Glittering moments when everything falls into place"
"...Glamour, despair, decadence and personal courage...When the Diva puts on a moustache and sings feministic fightsongs the subversive power of the vamp is revealed. When she sings a song in remembrance of the arrested colleague Judith, the gravity of the reality background."

Jenny Aschenbrenner, Dagens Nyheter


"Cabaret Verboten is not only a fantastic, musical experience but a seamless theatrepiece about life on the brink of death."
"Steven's voice goes straight through your skin. She nuances between defying self-confidence and fragility in both singing and acting and her stage presence makes you catch yourself, holding your breath throughout the entire show. It's as if the audience has a knife against its throat. The interaction with imaginary officers, the German accent and the nervous gazes to the accordionist Käthe, add an extra nerve to the drama. The repertory switches between savvy, funny numbers and serious songs. During the last, trembling minute of the show the performers summon courage to perform a the song of Judith: a Partisan song in Yiddish that brakes your heart."

Therésia Erneborg, TeaterStockholm.se

"Forbidden Cabaret"
"We're in Berlin in the 40s. A shady basement locale is the stage of the remaining exile cabaret Katakombe. Gobbles has declared war against the city's cabarets that, according to him, have mocked the superior race and made fun of the political leaders. The majority of the ensemble has already been deported and the audience is informed that Judith's balance act, that everyone has come to see, no longer is on the repertory since Judith's been taken away by the Gestapo.

Left on stage is Petronella, the star of Kabaret Katakomb (Olivia Stevens) and her accordionist (Maria Peters). The balance act between trying to satisfy the officers in the audience while following ones own conviction becomes increasingly desperate. The consequences are fatal when Petronella decides to stop compromising.

Lacrimosa's stage Gavelius is transformed to its advantage, into an intimate cabaret stage; the audience seated around little cafe tables in the cafe. Jewish composers in the 20-ies wrote the songs. Giddy and entertaining on the surface, but beneath the ironic lyrics hide provocative, political messages about corruption and a struggle for free love.

Steven's voice goes straight through your skin. She nuances between defying self-confidence and fragility in both singing and acting and her stage presence makes you catch yourself, more or less holding your breath throughout the entire show. It's as if the audience has a knife against its throat - The interaction with imaginary officers, the German accent and the nervous, meaning gazes to the accordionist Kathe, add an extra nerve to the drama. The repertory fluctuates between savvy, funny numbers and serious songs. During the last, trembling minute of the show the performers summon their courage to perform a final piece: a Partisan song in Yiddish that takes your breath away.

Cabaret Verboten is not only a fantastic experience musically but a beautifully seamless show about life on the brink of death."

Therésia Erneborg, TeaterStockholm.se


"Glittering, cheeky and abysmal against the backdrop of its history."
"Michaela Agoston has seen 'Kabaret Verboten' a colorful little show with forbidden songs written in Berlin in the 1930s: glittering, cheeky and abysmal against the backdrop of history.

A bullied musician dressed in a strict brown suit, with a large rose in her long hair, plays intensely and sadly on her accordion. The glittering and heavily made-up Petronella stands by her side, striking stylish poses, flirting with the audience and singing seductively. They're the perfect cabaret duo!"

Michaela Agoston, Judisk Krönika

"'You mustn’t keep money in your mattress. Go out amidst the people and plant them there', Petronella (the actress Olivia Stevens) urges us, in a song that parodies our obsession with money. Fiery scenes where the diva turns into a master of ceremony in a circus, with a whip and German accent lead to still moments where the musician (Miriam Olden burg) makes long sighs with her accordion.

'You must play now', Petronellal shamelessly orders her musician whos sat down by the piano 'I am a Vamp, half beast. I should really be kept in a Zoo. I've picked Himmler's roses and smoke weed in Amsterdam. I bite my men and suck them dry and then I bake them in a pie...'

In a song about a secret club for lesbians in Berlin she reveals a triangle of pink feathers under her skirt. She hungers for freedom and is a rebel of love, singing: 'This is the end of you clipping off our wings'.

Mid show, she puts on a Hitler moustache and purrs: 'There’s something about men with a moustache - I turn into a little pussycat'. After a moustache cavalcade she suddenly grabs a hold of a violin. The moustache ends up on her left shoulder while she proceeds to express her despair over the fact that there are so few real men left in this world. She wants '...a brute who knows how to shoot'. For the first time during the evening, she gives a bit of appreciation to the musician: 'You know, sometimes you're actually quite good. I really mean it.'

No wonder the Cabarets were forbidden by the Nazis.

In January of 1941 the Minister of Propaganda for the Nazis, Joseph Gobbles, wrote: 'Despite my repeated warnings the Cabaret performers continue to mock our unique race. They openly criticize the Political, Cultural and Economic leadership of the Reich. Since my warnings have been in vain, I am forced to take strict measures on behalf of the Fuehrer.'

Plain clothed SS-men were sent to the Cabarets to make sure there was no political critique. The entire ensemble could be called in for questioning and the performers as well as the audience risked being sent to jail or to a concentration camp. But the performers didn't give up; they went underground, changed venues and started up new Cabarets under new names, skillfully hiding their political messages, until they eventually had to escape to survive.'

'Cabaret Verboten' is based on songs written by Jewish composers in Berlin in the 1930s, translated by Monica Hamberg.

Michaela Agoston, Judisk Krönika


"Power without a sense of humor is dangerous"
"He was just a zany that they mocked on stage. But one day, without anybody knowing how it happened, the zany was the main character in a World War...

This is a show with both humor and seriousity. The humor points are the flamboyant gestures, the Diva role, honored its own special parody...and the dialogue with 'Herman' who´s seated in the theatre, controlling them. The serious parts are the stories of friends and members of the resistance movement who've either died or fled the country, and the fact that it's only when Herman's asleep that they can sing and live the way they want to - homosexuality, feminism, strong women, freedom to be who you want to be...one experiences clearly how the snare tightens around the neck, how narrow the world becomes when political correctness leads and is driven through by force.

They say the only thing the devil can't stand is someone laughing at him, and dictators are just as thin-skinned. The fact that absolute power doesn't just lack self-criticism but also humor goes back everywhere. That's why we must take care of our satirists. And take to heart that it can happen again that up zany gets world domination. Without anyone really grasping what happened."

Susanne Holmlund, Sundsvalls Tidning

"Hitler and his ministers even waged a war on the so called decadent cabarets., Besides heckling the power, the cabarets, the songs and the performers represented a moral freedom that had no place in Nazis world order. Musical theatre performer Olivia Stevens and her partner 'Käte' (Bjarne Löwdin) transport us to 1930s Berlin and one of those basement cabarets threatened to be shut down unless they follow the politically correct protocol. Naturally a cabaret cannot be politically correct since it would cease being a cabaret. The Nazis tried creating their own, with the correct content, but 'not even they wanted to see them', as Stevens says.

This is a show with both humor and seriousity. The humor points are the flamboyant gestures, the Diva role, honored its own special parody where Olivia Stevens takes command fully with the right panache and the dialogue with 'Herman' who's seated in the theatre controlling them. The serious parts are the stories of friends and members of the resistance movement who've either died or fled the country, and the fact that it's only when Herman’s asleep that they can sing and live the way they want to - homosexuality, feminism, strong women, freedom to be who you want to be. And even the analyses, small but often good – like, there's always a little bullied guy behind every swastika badge – a guy who finally gets back at he world. Even though the songs are unknown to me, the style and melodies are well known time markers. It's easy to get into the mood and create from the stage and one experiences clearly how the snare tightens around the neck, how narrow the world becomes when political correctness leads and is driven through by force.

They say the only thing the devil can't stand is someone laughing at him, and dictators are just as thin-skinned. The fact that absolute power doesn't just lack self-criticism but also humor goes back everywhere. That's why we must take care of our satirists. And take to heart that it can happen again that up zany gets world domination. Without anyone really graspin what happened."

Susanne Holmlund, Sundsvalls Tidning