Glitzy burlesque, and utter SHEER MADNESS!

Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn. Photo@ R.Pater
Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn.
Photo@ R.Pater

My goodness, what a lovely summer we’re having. The weather is glorious and Berliners are out and about.

July was so much fun. I went to Berlin Fashion Week Yay!

I got my first ever press pass and I have to tell you like, if you’re ever going to dance the night away, you’ve got to totally do it in Berlin!

Last week, my husbandThe Music Producer and I went to a music, variety, show, and venue called the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin. If you recall in May, I pretty much went to the last showing of Breakin’ Mozart. The performance was so popular that they’re bringing the production back again in 2015!

I had such a good time that I asked to watch the latest production of the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin called: SHEER MADNESS or (in German), Der Helle Wahnsinn.

Going bonkers at Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn. Photo@ R.Pater
Going bonkers at Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn.
Photo@ R.Pater

Utter Sheer Madness!

WHAT’S THE WINTERGARTEN VARIETÉ BERLIN or SIMPLY WINTERGARTEN BERLIN?

 A vintage Berlin 1940's advertisement poster.
A vintage Berlin 1940’s advertisement poster.

Well, the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a venue that was considered one of the stage entertainment places to be, between 1887 and 1943.

Today, the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is now a large variety theatre and located in a different part of Berlin known as Schöneberg. Schöneberg is a stylish, leafy suburb with boulevards and open-air markets.

Schöneberg also happens to be Berlin’s popular centre of gay life and community, where Christopher Isherwood (the inspiration of both the musical and the film “Cabaret”), once used to live, and where Marlene Dietrich used to frequent the legendary “El Dorado” bar.

 Sara Bowden showing her true colours at Sheer Madness. photo@ Robert Pater

Sara Bowden showing her true colours at Sheer Madness.
photo@ Robert Pater

But I digress. I mean SHEER MADNESS?

Berlin is no stranger to “the other” and in fact, you only have to walk around for a few hours to realise that we’re all pretty weird around here, and completely bonkers. In fact, someone once brought a pony onto the train a few years ago.

A pony!

We’ve also had a pack of dogs that looked suspiciously like a pack of wolves.

On. The. Train!

Last winter, The Music Producer and I went to the student-filled suburb of Friedrichshain on the tram, and practically everyone on the tram (even though it’s technically illegal), had a bottle of beer in their hands. One guy even had a glass too and was pouring it in a very relaxed manner! I myself, have walked into one of Europe’s oldest luxury hotel groups: the prestigeous Hotel Adlon Kempinski with bare feet, hair all astray, and make-up stuck to the side of my mouth!

So what’s it all about?

We're not crazy. You are! Photo@ R.Pater
We’re not crazy. You are! Photo@ R.Pater

WHAT IS SHEER MADNESS?

SHEER MADNESS or (in German), Der Helle Wahnsinn is a glitzy, burlesque, artistic show. A blend of acrobatics, dance and live music, never seen before. The show is about the bright imagination of a glitzy and flamboyant gay man called Herbert Maria Freiherr von Heymann, who shortly after World War II,  was committed for “healing purposes,” to a madhouse.

WHAT DOES SHEER MADNESS MEAN?

Well, according to my huge Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus, madness can be defined as “insanity, lunacy, extreme anger, excitement, foolishness, or rabies!”

Yeah, that sounds pretty much like a large number of people who live in Berlin, and I’d say that I was extremely sane!

The story goes that when Herbert Maria Freiherr von Heymann arrives at the madhouse, he meets a large number of people bordering on the weird, to the utter insane.

Rummelsnuff as "Hans the Wave" showing his stuff at Sheer Madness. Don't you think he looks like Popeye with the pipe, muscles, and everything?!! Photo@ Robert Pater
Rummelsnuff as “Hans the Wave” showing his stuff at Sheer Madness. Don’t you think he looks like Popeye with the pipe, muscles, and everything?! Photo@ Robert Pater

He meets “Hans the Wave”, a former sailor who loves athletic sports, sailor songs, and lives in a world of his own.

He meets a beautiful woman who has exciting exhibitionist fits and who believes that she is the white Josephine Baker.

Some of the cast and Florian Zumkehr as "Karl the Knife" at Sheer Madness. Photo@ R.Pater
Some of the cast and Florian Zumkehr as “Karl the Knife” at Sheer Madness. Photo@ R.Pater

He meets “Karl the Knife” who is so dangerous and unpredictable, that he is permanently kept in a straitjacket because he is alleged to be a stabbing serial killer.

He meets “Kling” who doesn’t talk, but is nevertheless very communicative with his body percussion sounds.

“Somalso” is a schizophrenic woman who believes she is in a variety of different bodies.

“Sarotti,” the son of a German mother and a Moroccan father and by definition, already mad. By virtue of his birth!

The strange Collins Brothers at Sheer Madness. Photos@ R.Pater
The strange Collins Brothers at Sheer Madness.
Photos@ R.Pater

The Collins Brother, a crazy sibling set of two brothers, who try to perform magical acts.

And finally, there is the Tzigane boy-girl “Punka” – a young man who always wears girl clothing, and hardly talks.

These “mad” people live a miserable existence in the asylum, left alone with their hallucinations, fantasies, and stories. This changes however, when Herbert Maria Freiherr von Heymann joins them.

It was impossible to knock the humour, sarcasm, and joy of living, out of him. In fact, the asylum was just what he needed.

An audience!

David Pereira as "Punka" in Sheer Madness. Photo@ R. Pater
David Pereira as “Punka” in Sheer Madness.
Photo@ R. Pater

I won’t tell you anything more except that the songs were written by a British friend of ours – Jack Woodhead –  who also performs the role of Herbert Maria Freiherr von Heymann. He’s just as eccentric as I am, if not more so! And the boy-girl “Punka” was played by the rather gorgeous Spanish acrobatic artist – David Pereira.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO WATCH IT?

Not reaLLy.

Most of the songs which are written by Jack Woodhead and David Pereira, are sung in English. The general script is in German but the action surrounding the show, can be understood! The show is very suitable for an international audience but perhaps not for very young children, who might wonder why the girls keep lifting up their dresses and showing their knickers!

ANYTHING ELSE?

The show ends on October 5th, 2014 and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so if you want to watch it (what with the holidays n’ all), now’s probably the time!

Jack Woodhead at Sheer Madness: A man who can wear heels! Photo@ R.Pater
Jack Woodhead at Sheer Madness: A man who can wear heels!
Photo@ R.Pater

MY VERDICT?

A colourful show full of utter sheer madness, and laughter.

I love a man who can wear heels as well as I can!

Jack Woodhead with a lovely pair of silver, sparkly shoes that I want! Photo@Jack woodhead.
Jack Woodhead with a lovely pair of silver, sparkly shoes that I want!
Photo@Jack woodhead.

SHEER MADNESS is an intriguing story of screaming people, clothes gone awry, and people gone mad. The songs are a reflection of times gone by, freedom, and heartfelt songs of hope!

The show is a performance of acrobatic twists and turns, erotic ballet, tap-dancing on tables and beds, a schizophrenic girl who thinks she’s Hitler or perhaps the Queen, and a mad girl with huge circular hoops, strapped onto an operating chair!

If you like glitzy burlesque, innovative but intriguing lyrics, combined with first class acrobatics, performed by fit, attractive, people then you’ll love SHEER MADNESS at the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin. SHEER MADNESS is a show worth going to, while you are in Berlin!

David Pereira as "Punka" and Ashia Grzesik as "Sister Hildegard" in Sheer Madness. Photo@ Robert Pater.
David Pereira as “Punka” and Ashia Grzesik as “Sister Hildegard” in Sheer Madness.
Photo@ Robert Pater.

Because you can:

  • Be extremely close to a cast of gorgeous, freaky, people (depending on your ticket), as pretty much every seating comes with tables, so that you can eat and drink to your hearts’ delight.
  • See a Burlesque strip-tease.
  • See a paper-eating-acrobatic-maniac stand on an enormous pile of books, on a grand piano, and at the same time, play a guitar!
  • Watch a tightrope artist.
  • Watch a magical disappearing act!
  • Come early, hang out with the uniformed doormen, and have your photo taken by the theatre’s professional photographer for only €5.00.

A Justin-Timberlake look-alike who can tap dance, a pretty young woman doing a burlesque strip-tease, gorgeous sexy erotic acrobatic performers who can dance and sing. What’s not to like?

A brilliant show.

Berlin in the 1920's. © Deutsches Plakat Museum im Museum Folkwang, 2012
Berlin in the 1920’s.
© Deutsches Plakat Museum im Museum Folkwang, 2012

WHAT IF SHEER MADNESS ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Not to worry. Berlin is a capital city. There is always more to see, and something else to do. Keep reading my blog. More coming soon!

SHEER MADNESS runs until the 5th of October, 2014 so get your tickets soon!

Tickets for SHEER MADNESS in Berlin are from €24.50 for adults and reduced for children, students, and groups. ShowCafe €27.00 or for families €95.00 for 4 people including tea, coffee and cake! Tickets can be bought online here.

Approximate running time: About 2 hours.

For more information about the show please contact: SHEER MADNESS.

For more information about the venue please contact: Wintergarten Varieté Berlin.

Burlesque Night by Joanne Claxton. Courtesy of fineartamerica.com
Burlesque Night by Joanne Claxton.
Courtesy of fineartamerica.com

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary ticket, all opinions and the glittering glasses of champagne and fancy beer that I happily drank, are my very own!

August is a new month, I’ll be writing about summer time activities in Berlin, and what to do when you get here.

August will also be the month when I look back on some of the blog awards that I received and which I never got to write about, due to the marvellous, in the moment, lifestyle that I have LOL!

August and September will also bring a few surprises that I’m sure that you’ll love. One of them is the Berlin Music Week Festival which both The Music Producer and I are extremely excited about LOL! The other surprises, you’ll have to wait until the end of August or early September to find out, so stay on my blog!

This city is the bomb!

Are you coming?

Watch this space!

Not far from home. In Berlin. Madness personified!
Not far from home. In Berlin. Madness personified!

On a last note, don’t forget to check out the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. Great things are happening!

David Pereira and Jack Woodhead keeping it together, at Sheer Madness. Photo@ Robert Pater
David Pereira and Jack Woodhead keeping it together, at Sheer Madness. Photo@ Robert Pater

Have you been to a glitzy burlesque show? Would you describe yourself as mad, foolish, or excited? Have you ever had rabies?!

See you in Berlin.

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24 thoughts on “Glitzy burlesque, and utter SHEER MADNESS!

  1. Now that looks like fun!!! I’ve seen burlesque shows before years ago in West Hollywood. It was always a fun time! That guy does look like Popeye, I thought that before l read your comment..lol! Nope, no rabies here either , even though the dogs just got their shots! 🙂 . Carry on with your fun summer!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much kemkem. Another rabies free person. ‘So glad!
      I know! Burlesque shows are always so much fun and indeed, “Hans the Wave” sure does look like Popeye. He sounds like him too and can flex his breast and shoulder muscles! Fun summer every time 🙂

      Like

  2. What an exciting summer you’re having, Sheer Madness looks awesome. I can’t quite get over the fact that someone took a pony on the train – and I thought chickens on buses in Asia were bad!

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    1. Thanks so much Amy! I know!! This summer is so exciting and to be honest, summer in Berlin is always one long party. 🙂 Free opera, free jazz, free festivals, free education….! We’ve pretty much got it made, and ponies on the train make Berlin ever more interesting LOL!

      Like

  3. Congrats on getting your first press pass! Aren’t they great? I have been to so many NYC events as part of the media. This burlesque show looked insanely fun!

    Seems like NYC and Berlin are both having great summer weather! I just went to a beer and bacon festival at the Mets ballpark the other day and it was so much fun!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Phil. I was enormously pleased and awfully proud all at the same time, as I know how difficult it can be to get on “that list.” I feel honoured to be recognised so quickly. 🙂
      You must be having a ball in NY as there are so many places to go to and so many things to see. You lucky fellow. 🙂

      NY & Berlin? Twins to the core. We’re just cheaper LOL! Re-the weather: we’re enjoying every moment, and the FIFA World Cup celebrations & BBQ/beer parties, just added to the fun. Bacon & beer at the NY Mets? Sounds intriguing!!

      Like

  4. This fabulous pictures certainly highlight how intriguing this show is. Little wonder you had a great time, whether you understood the German or not.

    Berlin seems to have it all going on, diverse art, theatre, music, festivals, shows and so much more. They’ve even got a pony train, wow!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much @The Guy! I’m fluent in German but it’s nice to check out shows and performances that would appeal to others who aren’t. The same goes for English-English productions. Would they appeal to people whose native language isn’t English? I speak to both sides of the coin LOL!
      As an international, cosmopolitan city, Berlin really is the place to be. With or without the pony. 🙂 🙂

      Like

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