Woodkid (Support: Awir Leon)

Woodkid played a show in the Gasometer in Vienna supported by Awir Leon.
Seen on: 23.4.2022

Having seen two live shows recently (in relatively small locations and with mask mandates in place), I threw caution into the wind a little and went to see Woodkid (a show that was originally planned to be open air and two years ago) in Vienna’s second biggest concert location. Indoor. With a recently lifted mask mandate. My friend and I wore our masks anyway, but I was surprised by how few people opted to wear masks on a voluntary basis, and I’m not keen to repeat the experience any time soon, I have to admit. But my anxiety was not so bad that I left the concert early. Or maybe the concert was so good. I mean, it was definitely really good.

Woodkid standing in a uniform that is vaguely reminiscent of an astronaut's suit, a hardhat under his arm, in front of some machinery.
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Mighty Oaks (Support: Christof van der Ven)

Mighty Oaks played a concert at the Ottakringer Brauerei in Vienna with Christof van der Ven as their support.
Seen on: 2.4.2022
[Here’s my review of the last Mighty Oaks show I saw.]

Buoyed by my recent concert experience, the first since this pandemic started, I decided to see the next show I had tickets for, too – Mighty Oaks (incidentally, they were also one of the last shows I saw before the pandemic). And it was a great concert again, despite me feeling a little crowded in that location and with that many people there.

The three white guys of the band Mighty Oaks sitting on and in front of a bench, all holding guitars.
Mighty Oaks
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Oma oder Alles Paletti!

Oma oder Alles Paletti! [literally: Granny, or Everything’s Peachy!]
Director: Michaela Ehrenstein
Writer: Elfriede Hammerl
Cast: Anita Kolbert, Eva Christina Binder, Barbara Edinger, Stefanie Gutmann, Georg Müller-Angerer, John Fricke, Alfons Noventa
Seen on: 30.3.2022
[Full disclosure: I know Elfriede Hammerl personally.]

Oma (Anita Kolbert) used to be a scientist. But now she has grown old and society has no room for an old woman, except for working as a “rented” grandmother. But Oma was never the parental type and after yet another family lets her go, Oma gets relegated to a Senior Sanctuary. Her ticket out of there: Viktor (Georg Müller-Angerer [though on the day I saw the show, Michaela Ehrenstein had to step in for him]), a young successful type missing his own grandmother. What starts as a convenient arrangement leads both of them to reconsider the world around them.

Oma oder Alles Paletti! is an entertaining play that carries quite a punch. It doesn’t quite seem to know how to end, but given how many good points it makes in a funny way before that, it is still very much worth seeing.

Oma (Anita Kolbert), Viktor (Georg Müller-Angerer) and Beate (Barbara Edinger) looking depressed.
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Black Sea Dahu

Black Sea Dahu are a singer-songwriter and her band from Switzerland. They played a show in the Porgy & Bess in Vienna.
Seen on: 7.3.2022

It has been almost exactly two years that I was on my last concert. And while it felt weird to get back to live shows, watching and listening to Black Sea Dahu was an excellent way to get back into the groove of things in that department.

Singer-songwriter Janine of Black Sea Dahu holding a guitar.
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Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac
Director: Jamie Lloyd, Tony Grech-Smith
Writer: Martin Crimp in an adaptation of Edmond Rostand‘s play
Cast: James McAvoy, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Eben Figueiredo, Tom Edden, Nima Taleghani, Michele Austin, Adam Best, Nari Blair-Mangat, Adrian Der Gregorian, Kiruna Stamell, Brinsley Terence
Seen on: 1.3.2022

Cyrano de Bergerac (James McAvoy) is a poet and soldier, known for his big nose that practically disfigures him, and his hot temper that earns him a certain respect and fear. Cyrano is very much in love with Roxane (Anita-Joy Uwajeh) with whom he connects over their shared love of poetry. But he has never told her, fearing that she couldn’t possibly love him because of his looks. When she tells him that she is in love with the newly arrived soldier Christian (Eben Figueiredo) and asks him for help, he is reluctant. But when he learns that Christian also loves Roxane, but has trouble with words, he suggests that he could help him find the right ones to court her.

This production of Cyrano de Bergerac is a wonderfully modernized, exciting adaptation with a frankly astonishing McAvoy in the lead. I was utterly enchanted by it.

The poster for the play showing Cyrano (James McAvoy) leaning against a mirror, his reflection looking at the viewer.
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No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land
Director: Sean Mathias, Robin Lough
Writer: Harold Pinter
Cast: Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Owen Teale, Damien Molony
Seen on: 26.6.2021

Hirst (Patrick Stewart) brings home Spooner (Ian McKellen) for a drink after just meeting in a pub. Spooner seems to have seen better days, while Hirst is obviously well-off. As Spooner talks, it appears that the encounter may not have been entirely by chance, Spooner seems to know more about Hirst. His behaviour certainly draws the suspicions of Foster (Damien Molony) and Briggs (Owen Teale) – apparently part of Hirst’s household – who question Spooner after Hirst leaves the room. But nobody really figures out what is going on here, at least not a first.

No Man’s Land is well-acted and I liked the stage design, but I could not handle this play. It’s really not my thing, to put it mildly.

The poster for the production, showing Spooner (Ian McKellen) and Hirst (Patrick Stewart) standing next to each other in suits, with serious expressions.
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Re-Watch: Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931) + Muthspiel / Rom / Eggner

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas
Director: F.W. Murnau
Writer: F.W. Murnau, Robert J. Flaherty, Edgar G. Ulmer
Cast: Matahi, Anne Chevalier, Bill Bambridge, Hitu, Ah Fong, Jules, Mehao
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Wolfgang Muthspiel, played by him, Mario Rom and Florian Eggner
Seen on: 22.5.2021
[Here’s my first review of the film, without live music.]

Content Note: white gaze / racism

On Bora Bora, a young boy, Matahi (Matahi), and a young girl, Reri (Anne Chevalier), fall in love. But when Reri is declared the Chosen Maid, the sacred virgin of the island by their leader, an old warrior (Hito), not even the thought of love is allowed anymore. But Marahi and Reri are not willing to accept that and decide to flee.

Since this year, the Film and Music Cycle was a little difficult – of the four performances, two were canceled and I couldn’t see one – I knew that I wanted to see this final film, even though they had to change the original program and swapped in Tabu – a film that I had seen before and hadn’t particularly liked. And while it was great to be out in a theater/concert hall again, a second viewing didn’t change my mind either, especially not with that musical accompaniment.

The film poster showing a drawing of Matahi (Matahi) as he spear-fishes.
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One Man, Two Guvnors

One Man, Two Guvnors
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Richard Bean
Based on: Carlo Goldoni‘s Servant of Two Masters
Cast: James Corden, Jemima Rooper, Oliver Chris, Suzie Toase, Daniel Rigby, Claire Lams, Tom Edden
Seen on: 9.4.2020
[Here’s my review of an Austrian production of Goldoni’s play.]

Content Note: rape joke

Pauline (Claire Lams) and Alan (Daniel Rigby) are celebrating their engagement when Frances (James Corden) knocks on the door to announce that his employer Roscoe (Jemima Rooper) is there. Roscoe supposedly died a couple of days ago and his sudden appearance is doubly upsetting because Pauline, and more importantly her dowry, were promised to him long time ago. What Pauline doesn’t know is that it isn’t actually Roscoe but his twin sister Rachel who comes to collect the dowry, so she can flee with her fiancé who did kill Roscoe. As Rachel-as-Roscoe waits for the dowry, she takes camp in a hotel. Also in that hotel – unbeknownst to Rachel – is her fiancé Stanley (Oliver Chris). Thinking him unemployed, Stanley hires Frances who is always looking for a way to get to some food. But serving two guvnors isn’t easy, as Frances soon discovers.

I missed this production when it came to the cinemas and now that National Theatre is offering some of their plays to watch at home, it was the ideal opportunity for me to catch up with this one, since I heard a lot of good things about it. And I have to say, it was a very enjoyable production that definitely made me laugh.

Frances (James Corden) holding out a flower.
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Sex Smells

Sex Smells
Director: Paula Thielecke from Kollektiv Eins
Writer: Paula Thielecke
Cast: Marlene-Sophie Haagen, Fabian Raabe, Carolin Wiedenbröker, Tara Afsah
Seen on: 11.3.2020

Content Note: ableism, suicide

The Hot Flamingo Bar is a feminist porn cinema / brothel run by Muschi McMuschi (Marlene-Sophie Haagen), Captain Rodeo (Carolin Wiedenbröker) and Gloria Maria Wurst (Fabian Raabe). But the Bar and its staff are in trouble. Bills can’t be paid, gentrification lurks around the corner – and there is only a very limited amount of time left for them to stop it and keep their place.

Sex Smells has some interesting and some funny moments but overall, I was hoping for a little more from it.

Marlene-Sophie Haagen, Fabian Raabe, Carolin Wiedenbröker on stage
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Agnes Obel (Support: Marlène)

Agnes Obel played a concert in Vienna with the support of Marlène.
Seen on: 4.3.2020

I didn’t know Marlène before and while I don’t think her music is bad, it wasn’t really to my liking. But Agnes Obel – who I went to the concert for – definitely was. Beautiful music, excellent performance, Obel herself is super-charming… I couldn’t ask for more!

A portrait shot of Agnes Obel in front of a black background. It is slightly out of focus.
Agnes Obel
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