Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen [Love Stories and Marriage Affairs]

Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen
Director: Georg Schmiedleitner
Writer: Johann Nestroy
Cast: Gregor Bloéb, Marie-Louise Stockinger, Stefanie Dvorak, Regina Fritsch, Martin Vischer, Dietmar König, Christoph Radakovits, Markus Meyer, Alexandra Henkel, Peter Matić, Elisabeth Augustin, Robert Reinagl
Seen on: 10.6.2018

Florian Fett (Gregor Bloéb) has made some money and moved from being a butcher to being a man of means and influence. And he intends to keep it that way. that also means that the women in his family need to marry advantageously. His daughter Fanny (Marie-Louise Stockinger) is in love with Anton (Martin Vischer), a merchant’s son. His more distant relative Ulrike (Stefanie Dvorak) is in love with Alfred (Christoph Radakovits) who appears to be poor, but isn’t actually. And the opportunistic Nebel (Markus Meyer) tries to win over the bristly, but rich Lucia Distel (Regina Fritsch), Fett’s sister-in-law. And Fett himself is everywhere, trying to make sure things happen in his own best interest.

Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen may not be the best thing I have ever seen at the Burgtheater, but it is far from the worst, despite being a comedy of errors in parts – and those rarely work for me.

The cast of Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen during the play.

Burgtheater productions have a very distinct style, especially when it comes to costumes and stage design. Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen fits seamlessly into that style and honestly, I would like to see a little bit more variety in how the plays look and feel. But what I found worse in this production than the lack of variety, was that they really forced their way through the first two acts without a break, making the first half way too long. I would have preferred it if they had made a break that interrupted the act structure or two shorter breaks than this exhausting way.

Another problem – which has less to do with the production than with the play itself – I had was that I absolutely hated Nebel with a passion – and he is basically the main character in the play. I’m afraid we’re supposed to laugh at his callous disregard for other people, his opportunism and narcissim, but I didn’t think it was funny in the slightest, it was just spiteful.

The cast of Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen during the play.

It did have funny moments, althought I could have lived with about half of the “near misses” that are a staple of comedies of error and that just hammer home how unlikely everything is, and how silly that things don’t come to light much earlier.

The best things about the play were Gregor Bloéb who plays Fett with just the right amount of greasiness; Regina Fritsch and her Lucia Distel – who the play wants you to think of as this impossible shrew but who actually was the best, most interesting and most likeable character in the entire thing if you look behind the misogyny of the characterization the play tries to force on her; and finally the remotely controlled pig that keeps zipping across the stage at the best moments and got the most (honest) laughter – and rightfully so.

There was enough to enjoy about it, even if it can’t surpass the Volksfeind production I only just saw.

Gregor Bloéb during the play.

Summarizing: Not bad, but not entirely great.

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