Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Bremner Duthie is back at the Edinburgh Fringe, this time with ‘Berlin to Broadway’ a musical revue of Composer- ‘Kurt Weil’.
Bremner brings the life and music of Kurt Weil to the small and cosy cabaret space of the loft at the Outhouse. From the start he welcomes the audience with ease, and creates a relaxed atmosphere. Accompanied by the talented David Patrick on the piano, he sings Weil’s famous repertoire from the Cabarets in Berlin to his time on Broadway.
Weil wrote songs that would serve a social purpose and to promote change, which he achieved great success in through his works with Betolt Brecht, this is part of what makes his life and what he tried to achieve so interesting. This revue is cleverly structured to break up the songs with little snippets into Weil’s life. In particular, the letters from his wife Lotte Lenya are brilliant in giving us some more insight into what it was like to be an artist in Germany throughout the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. These pieces of information really help to put the songs into context, and lovely fragments of musical acompaniament help to set the scene and tie everything together. Weil’s music throughout this time so perfectly fits into a cabaret environment, that this could have perhaps been made more of in the aesthetic and delivery of the piece, to truly transport us back to the exciting, sordid art-scene in Berlin in the 1920’s.
From the first song ‘What Keeps Mankind Alive’, the audience are blown away by the intensity and power in Bremner’s vocal performance. His classical training and strong technique means that he performs Weil’s repertoire with ease, and he used strong vocal dynamics to portray the emotion in the songs to the audience. I felt sometimes in this small space that the microphone was not always necessary, and that the performance could be held back a bit, as although Weil’s songs need a strong emotional connection, sometimes the numbers were a little over-whelming in this intimate cabaret setting.
From start to finish one can see Bremner’s passion for Kurt Weil’s music, and he supports this with strong vocals and a dynamic performance. I would recommend this show to anyone who loves the music of Weil, or simply wants a musical revue that will give you a glimpse into the life of a composer with a truly interesting story.