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BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

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A Diabolical Weimar-Berlin Kabarett plays the Triad again on September 25th.

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

The long, fabled history of cabaret has its roots in many different places, different styles, different origins, different aesthetics. That's one of the many things that make cabaret so interesting and enjoyable an art form, and, as years have passed and the world has become more fluid (in many ways) lines have blurred, become grey, until "Cabaret" is almost an undefinable art form made up of any performer and any performance art that is presented in a small venue where food and drink are served. One thing that will never, that can never change is the foundation that has been built upon (and that continues to lean on) the cabaret culture born of the Weimar Republic of Germany in the 1920s (give or take a year or two on either side of the decade). Don't stop reading, this isn't a history lesson, and goodness knows there are those whose brains immediately shut off with the introduction of dates, years, and timelines - and that is actually a topic of discussion that should be covered in this review, and it will be. For now, though, all that is important to note is that the Weimar Cabaret scene came out of Germany during the (mostly) Twenties, and it remains a force of fascination today, informing most cabaret shows, in one way or another, whether the artists know it or not. For some cabaret artists, it is the lynchpin of their mission statement and artistic vision.

Adrienne Haan is just such an artist.

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad Ms. Haan presented her show "Between Fire & Ice - A Diabolical Weimar-Berlin Kabarett" last night at the Triad Theater on 72nd Street in Manhattan: there is another performance on Saturday, September 25th at 2 pm, and it is worth investigating, for so many reasons, almost all of them originating with Ms. Haan. The 'almost' starts with the Triad itself - a beautiful structure ideally suited to this particular show, but that has served many artists and acts through the years; and the ushers for Adrienne's show were so chic, so meticulously groomed, so helpful and polite that one wonders: is it always like this, or did Adrienne Haan bring in her own boys? One hopes it is always this way, but if BETWEEN FIRE & ICE got special usher-casting treatment, it thoroughly enhances the classic cabaret mood. And this is classic cabaret.

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad Adrienne Haan has gone to great lengths to create an authentic modern-day look back at the Weimar years with this ninety-minute theater piece, and though it is a cabaret, when a show gets to be an hour and a half and has a script so meticulously structured, it is actually a play. In her self-penned and directed one-woman musical play, Haan takes simultaneous deep dives into Weimar, the Jewish people of the land, the artistic creations of the time, and the decadent lifestyle of the culture. It's an ambitious undertaking that Haan executes with inordinate amounts of style and talent - in perfectly performed musical numbers, the play has been rehearsed within an inch of its life but it rarely feels like it. Adrienne needs no crib sheets or prompts, she knows the spoken material as well as she knows the story of her own life, and she knows the musical material even better, and that's important because this is some heady stuff with which she is working. Performing in multiple languages (mostly German and English), Haan is possessing of one of the most palatable voices on the scene, immersing herself into the storytelling, committing herself to character choices that would hurt the vocal instruments of less experienced performers, then turning on a dime with what can only be described as full opera, at times shocking a person with the beauty and the power of her unblemished soprano. There are times when Ms. Haan goes above and beyond, explaining the story of a song before she performs it because there will be no English translation, and though her verbal Cliff's Notes are appreciated, they are unnecessary, for her own skill as an actor raises up the full weight of the storytelling, making an impressive impact on the audience. Vocally, and Thespianically, Adrienne Haan is beyond reproach during her ninety-minute play.

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad It is in her capacity as a writer with which this member of the audience took some exception. This is a lot of material to digest, and not everybody who attends BETWEEN FIRE & ICE will have the benefit of her studious background into the era; there are times when her script runs the risk of becoming a history class (not a lesson, a class), particularly when dates and timelines enter the picture. It is most important that Haan not lose members of her audience to wandering minds unsuited to listening to a professor at the blackboard, even a sequin-and-fringe decked-out professor. Ms. Haan rides waves in her monology between passionately reciting facts, deftly performing as a character in a story, and speaking directly to the audience in manners both playful and serious, not unlike comedy and tragedy masks on the same woman. Her audience is best captivated by her personal conversation with them - there are times when she talks to the audience, and others when she talks with them, a valuable distinction to make. During the exchange of conversational energy, she becomes so irresistible that you can't look away, and when she asks you a question, you reply, even if you don't know the answer. Adrienne Haan is like a Pied Piper of International Kabarett: when you hear the sound of her hypnotic and impeccable voice, you go with her, wherever she goes. Should she manage to make all of the non-character-informed moments on stage instances when she is speaking (even as theatrically as she is) directly with the audience with a palpable exchange of energy, she would be unstoppable, and BETWEEN FIRE & ICE would go from a Nine to a Ten.

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

Throughout her exquisite showcase of the history of Weimar, the artistry of the era, and her own unfathomable talents, Ms. Haan is brilliantly assisted by Musical Director Richard Danley, with whom she is evenly matched, virtuosa to virtuoso, demonstrating the importance of having a Musical Director that is a real partner, that has your back. Mr. Danley has Ms. Haan's back, from start to finish: the actress is able to stay in the character, in the moment, telling the story, only breaking when the play is finished and it is time to say thank you. Once Adrienne Haan talks to you as Adrienne Haan she becomes even more irresistible than she was moments earlier. That doesn't happen at every cabaret show - when it does, it's special, and this one is special because Adrienne Haan is special.

Adrienne Haan Between Fire & Ice - A Diabolical Weimar-Berlin Kabarett will play the Triad Theater Saturday, September 25th at 2 pm. For information and tickets visit the Triad website HERE.

Adrienne Haan has a website HERE.

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

BWW Review: Adrienne Haan Lives Comfortably BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE at The Triad

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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