Grease

Grease
Director: Christian Stadlhofer
Writer: Jim Jacobs, Warren Casey
Cast: Alexander Jahnke, Veronika Riedl, Chanelle Wyrsch
Seen on: 25.2.2018

Plot:
Sandy (Veronika Riedl) is starting at a new high school. She’s a nice girl who finds a connection with the wilder group of girls at the school. But she is really thrown when she realizes that Danny (Alexander Jahnke), the nice boy she met over the summer, also goes to that school. Only that the Danny she meets at school – the coolest boy there – is nothing like the sweet guy she met before.

I saw the stage version already a few years ago, though I could barely remember that production when I booked tickets for this one. I found this production of Grease entertaining, but it still doesn’t manage to eclipse the movie version.

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Sienna Miller, Jack O’Connell, Colm Meaney, Lisa Palfrey, Hayley Squires, Brian Gleeson, Richard Hansell
Seen on: 22.2.2018

Plot:
Southern plantation patriarch Big Daddy (Colm Meaney) is celebrating his birthday and the remission of his cancer, and his son Brick (Jack O’Connell) and his wife Maggie (Sienna Miller) are getting ready for the party. More or less. Brick has a broken leg and is drunk already. Maggie worries about Brick’s brother Gooper and his wife Mae (Hayley Squires) who she believes are trying to cut them out of the estate. And that’s not the only tension in the family. And things aren’t exactly great between Brick and Maggie either.

I really enjoyed this production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, even if not on all counts. But it’s a strong version of an excellent play and a great evening of theater.

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Schlechte Partie [Bad Match]

Schlechte Partie aka Mädchen ohne Mitgift [Without a Dowry]
Director: Alvis Hermanis
Writer: Alexander Ostrovsky
Cast: Dörte Lyssewski, Marie-Luise Stockinger, Peter Simonischek, Martin Reinke, Michael Maertens, Nicholas Ofczarek, Fabian Krüger, Hermann Scheidleder, Hans Dieter Knebel, Christoph Kohlbacher, Peta Klotzberg
Seen on: 4.2.2018

Plot:
Larissa (Marie-Luise Stockinger) is beautiful and if she had any dowry, she would surely be able to choose her suitor. Unfortunately she doesn’t. Karandyschew (Michael Maertens) wants to marry her anyway. But then Paratow (Nicholas Ofczarek) shows up. He and Larissa used to be engaged until Paratow broke it off. Larissa is stull very much in love with him. Now that he’s back, she gets her hopes up once more. But recently broke Paratow is set to marry a rich woman the next day. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun with Larissa, though.

Schlechte Partie looks lush, but that’s about the only really good thing about it. It’s too long, too male and too tame.

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Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed [The Adventures of Prince Achmed] (1926) + Peter Rosmanith and Otto Lechner

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
Director: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch
Writer: Lotte Reiniger
Based on: One Thousand and One Nights
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Peter Rosmanith and Otto Lechner
Seen on: 11.12.2017
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Plot:
A sorcerer creates a flying horse. Intrigued, the Caliph wants to buy it, but the sorcerer doesn’t want money for it – he wants Princess Dinarsade. Her brother Achmed tries to save her, but the sorcerer lures him on the horse and they fly off. It takes Achmed a while to learn to control it, but once he does, he is ready to have quite a few adventures it takes him to.

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed is probably the oldest (surviving) full length animation film and it is obvious how painstakingly it was made. The result is impressive, even if the story itself isn’t. The incongruous accompaniment with accordion music was a surprisingly good fit, making the evening absolutely enjoyable.

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Young Marx

Young Marx
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Richard Bean, Clive Coleman
Cast: Rory Kinnear, Oliver Chris, Nancy Carroll, Laura Elphinstone, Eben Figueiredo, Nicholas Burns, Tony Jayawardena, Miltos Yerolemou, Duncan Wisbey
Seen on: 7.12.2017

Plot:
Karl Marx (Rory Kinnear) lives with his wife Jenny (Nancy Carroll) and children in poverty in Soho. Karl seems at odds with everyone around him, from creditors to police to his fellow critical thinkers. He doesn’t seem to mind much because, really, Karl is mostly interested in hanging out with his friend Friedrich Engels (Oliver Chris), who helps keeping the creditors at bay, and getting drunk whenever he gets half a chance.

I assume that Young Marx intended to get away from the revered by stuffy image Marx has acquired in the past 150 years, but it only partly succeeds in pushing Marx of his pedestal. And it only partly succeeds as a play.

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Horror

Horror
Director: Jakop Ahlbom
Writer: Jakop Ahlbom
Cast: Luc van Esch, Yannick Greweldinger, Silke Hundertmark, Judith Hazeleger, Sofieke de Kater, Gwen Langenberg, Maurits van den Berg, Reinier Schimmel
Seen on: 17.10.2017

Plot:
A group of friends come to an old house to spend the weekend there. But there are strange things happening there.

It may seem like I’m shortchanging this play with the plot description, but that’s pretty much all the plot there is. And that is also the play’s biggest weakness: it focuses so hard on translating horror movie tropes to the stage that it forgets that tropes only make sense within a narrative.

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Der Fluch [The Curse] (1925) + Gabriela Montero

Der Fluch
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Walter ReischErnst Weizmann
Cast: Oscar Beregi Sr.Lilian Harvey, Ferdinand BonnAlbert HeineAnny HornikReinhold HäussermannRia JászonyiAnton Pointner
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Gabriela Montero
Seen on: 10.10.2017
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Plot:
Jehuda (Oscar Beregi Sr.) impresses the young Lea (Anny Hornik) and Lea’s devout father Esra (Albert Heine) agrees to their engagement. But before they can actually get married, Jehuda falls for Rahel (Ria Jászonyi) and not caring much for Lea, leaves her. Heartbroken Lea commits suicide. Esra confronts Jehuda and curses him, but Jehuda is unwilling to contemplate his part in the tragedy for many years.

Der Fluch didn’t really work for me. While it was interesting to get an authentic look at a Jewish settlement from a pre-World War 2 time, nothing else about the film really managed to convince me.

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Portugal. The Man (Support: Steaming Satellites)

Portugal. The Man gave a concert in the Gasometer in Vienna. Their supporting band was Steaming Satellites.
Seen on: 17.9.2017

I was hesitant about going to this concert, mostly because I thought it would be incredibly decadent to go to two concerts on one weekend. But finally I caved because not only had I been obsessively listening to Portugal. The Man’s new album, Steaming Satellites are also among my favorite Austrian bands – and to get them in one package was too much to pass up. And it was a good decision indeed – I really wouldn’t have wanted to meet either concert as they were both great.

Portugal. The Man

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GLOBAL 2000 Birthday Party 2017

Global 2000 is an Austrian environmental NGO. For their 35th birthday as an organization, they organized a little festival with various bands that I attended on September 16, 2017.

I learned about this concert because I heard from my sister that Jeremy Loops was great and that he would be playing in Austria. I listened to his music and liked it, then I started listening to Grossstadtgeflüster and liked them, too, and since I already knew that I liked Attwenger that decided it for me: I’d definitely go there. And it was an excellent decision as it was a great show.

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Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus
Director: Blanche McIntyre
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: David Troughton, Patrick Drury, Nia Gwynne, Martin Hutson, Marcello Walton, Hannah Morrish, Jon Tarcy, Kristin Atherton, Sean Hart, Tom Lorcan, Anthony Ofoegbu, Stefan Adegbola, Joseph Adelakun, Tom McCall, William Bliss, Amber James
Seen on: 9.8.2017

CN: rape and a whole lot of violence

Plot:
Titus (David Troughton) returns home after waging a brutal war which cost him his children. He finds that he is expected to take over as emperor, which he’s actually not interested in doing. What he wants is to exact revenge on the Goth queen Tamora (Nia Gwynne) and her three sons, all four of them his prisoners. But revenge only brings more revenge.

This production of Titus Andronicus uses a modern setting for Shakespeare’s bloodiest play and at times this falls into the category of trying too hard. Given that the play itself also isn’t really my thing, this made for mixed feelings during the performance.

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