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  • Xi Ye

Review - Fury and Elysium

The Other Palace Theatre

Playing until 18th June 2023

Book: Stephanie Martin

Composer, music and lyrics: Calista Kazuko Georget

Directors: Rafaella Marcus, Karoline Gable

Musical Director: Adam Morris

Producers: Tanya Truman, Stephanie Martin, Calista Kazuko Georget

Review {Gifted - PR Invite}

Set in Berlin between the two World Wars, this production features the stories of six individuals, compounded by their own circumstances, as they fight against the torrents of modernisation, change and fascism in the creation of a new society.

Fury and Elysium brings together an exceptional cast of performers with incredible credentials. Without a doubt, these incredible actors delivered their respective roles to the highest quality. In particular, Danielle Steers, brought the sensational and charismatic Madam Kitty to live. The vocals were exceptional across the board and I would like to applaud Charlotte Clitherow for stepping in for Iz Hesketh due to sickness. Despite the short notice and reading from script, Clitherow’s delivery was of a high standard.

The main role played by each actor is printed/sewn onto their costumes, allowing the audience to more easily identify the different characters. However, the actors play a range of characters and so the labels often don’t align with the role in which they are playing. Given that the songs provide some context as to which story is being played out, these labelled costumes actually make it more difficult to follow the plots as we switch from story to story. The space created by this minimalistic set, composed of two ladders and a large metal bucket, maximises the space available for the six actors and their expressive movements in a tight space.

This musical shows a snippet of different Weimar Republic’s influential individuals’ experiences across various walks of life. Among these, this musical pays homage to the Dada art movement, Salon Kitty and Rosa Luxemburg to name a few. Following a crash course on the Weimar Republic on the internet and to find out who these people were, it appears each one of them have their own defining moments in history and worthy to be explored further as an individual entity. Given the richness of these historical movements, it is often difficult to appreciate the rationale and importance of certain events without a thorough understanding of the lead up. This is the key issue for this production. There are too many stories and perspectives, albeit grounded by a central theme, to allow the audiences to fully grasp the message in which this production is trying to convey.

This musical would benefit from a re-focus of the material, reducing the breadth of narratives contained within it, dedicating the time it has to better set the scene for the audience. In fact, when Valeska (Rosie Yadid), a Dada artist/performer, is asked what her arts are about, to which she responded “Everything” and “Nothing”, I felt a rush of confusion as I could not fully grasp and comprehend the underlying message without any research.

Perhaps this production may appeal to those who are well versed in the Weimar Republic and the movements that transpired during that time, but for a historically incompetent individual like myself, I simply could not indulge myself in the stories nor understand some of their motivations.

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