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Brighton Fringe 2009

Brecht Weill

The Voice Project

Venue: Komedia Studio Bar


Low Down

Adrienne Thomas and Hayward Slater team up to present an evening dedicated to Bertolt Brecht and his collaborations with Kurt Weill throughout the plays Brecht wrote in an accessible cabaret style setting, introducing Brecht to a new audience as well as people who love his work.



Sounds of smooth, cool jazz surrounded us as the audience took their seats in Komedia’s stylish Studio Bar waiting with anticipation for the show to start. A very intimate and cosy setting was created using candles on the tables and the lighting was red and blue which looked dramatic against a black backdrop and gave the space a very homely feel to it, instantly making you feel relaxed. The stage set up was extremely simple – a singer and guitarist with glasses of water at their sides.

No frills were needed when Adrienne Thomas began to sing a different version of Mack the Knife. Her voice is rich and deep, but yet is extremely flexible – one minute she sings a light hearted comedy number, then the next she shifts into a song about sex and drink that’s sombre in tone. She captivated everybody’s attention and her narration between each song giving a little background to the songs was really engaging and informative. Those who weren’t familiar with Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s work found it easy to follow and for some, it gave them a new insight into their world these men wrote about.

Hayward Slater as a guitarist is inspirational. The songs Brecht and Weill wrote were originally designed to be performed with an orchestra, but using complicated tango and flamenco rhythms, Hayward gave the songs a new lease of life. He added more drama, intensity and excitement to each song as they went on, but what really struck me was the emotion he created just by one pluck of a string or one resonating chord.

What made the whole package complete was the wonderful chemistry Adrienne and Hayward had on stage when they interacted with each other and the audience (especially in the more raunchy numbers!) However, what was interesting to observe was that the effect created by Brecht’s writing was very prominent. That is, being isolated from the action, yet drawn in – you couldn’t help but get involved, but the invisible barrier that was put up reminded the audience that what they were witnessing was a story and therefore not real. Absolutely genius move if they were aware of it.

Exciting, sexy and thrilling, this is a show that is definitely worth seeing and future dates for Brighton include 7th-8th September at The Nightingale Theatre.