As much a patchwork as Berlin itself
This show's 'kisses' are charming, but spotty
by Christian Baines
Soup Can Theatre's love letter to Berlin in the 20’s assembles some of Toronto's finest talent for an evening of historical immersion, music and mischief. Sadly, the intrepid cast and crew are battling sound imbalances and a venue that’s just plain ill-suited to the atmosphere they’re trying to create.
First of these is the orchestra, whose position between the audience and the low stage destroys any semblance of an intimate setting. Sound issues abound, with one mike fixed at stage level and numerous performers struggling to be heard. Singers are often static, without a spotlight, leaving them unable to work the crowd. Some choreography is attempted. An homage to Fosse’s ‘Mein Herr’ is inspired, and very funny. An ambitious, but woefully under-rehearsed ‘Coin Operated Boy’... not so much. Ntasha Negovanlis’s Youkali, however, sets a high watermark for the evening, revealing a glimpse of what could have been.
Ultimately, what’s lacking from Love is a Poverty 2 is not entertainment, but sensuality. A joke is even made of this at the start of the performance, but the absence of the slyly remarked upon exposed nipple isn’t the problem. It’s the cold, mechanical tone and the character of the venue, Bite, which never surrenders to the show’s illusion. There’s never the slightest heat to it, so we miss a quality central to Berlin cabaret. As a result, the hard work the cast puts in, and the touches of authenticity attempted prior to the show are never fulfilled.
The talent here deserves a greater commitment to its concept and a venue properly equipped to deliver the evening it could be.
Love is a Poverty You Can Sell 2: Kisses for a Pfennig runs July 3-7 & 9-14 at 7pm at Bite, on Bathurst and College.
Running Time: 90mins