For a night of pure entertainment, follow Hilda Hoy’s lead and book tickets at one of Berlin’s stellar cabaret and variety theaters.
The roaring '20s cabaret scene is alive and thriving in Berlin.
Since the 1920s, when the hedonistic capital’s cabaret scene made headlines around the world, this city has been known as a hotbed of no-holds-barred
entertainment. And though the Nazi regime and WWII effectively stamped out the cabaret scene back then, it has thankfully made a resurgence and is now alive and thriving again, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. One of the first places to start is
Wintergarten Varieté (Potsdamer Str. 96, www.wintergarten-berlin.de) on the edge of the Schöneberg and Tiergarten districts. The theater seating is decked out in the style of the glamorous 1920s, with loads of red velvet and golden trim. The audience is clustered around round tables, where they can enjoy a full three-course meal or just a glass (or three) of the best bubbly while taking in the show. All month, the show LIKE BERLIN promises to deliver “the soul of Berlin” in one wildly entertaining mix of music and artistry. And on
19 March, there will be a special showing of the
Vaudeville Variety Burlesque Revue, a titillating blend of racy burlesque, drag, acrobatics, and vintage flair. Stick around afterwards to check out the vaudeville market, offering 1950s rockabilly fashion and accessories.
Belonging to the same theater network is Tipi am
Kanzleramt (Große Querallee, www.tipi-amkanzleramt.de), a glam cabaret stage set in a big tent wedged between Tiergarten Park and the Chancellery. Like the Wintergarten, the Tipi also offers a colorful program of musical entertainment combined with dance, humor, and drama. This month it’s all about the music: the Double Drums show (10–12 March) will see a duo of prizewinning percussionists playing perfectly synchronized “groove symphonies” using more than 500 everyday objects. On 17 March, the Brassballett troupe of dancing brass musicians will put on a toe-tapping, footstomping show filled with infectious rhythm. Chamäleon (Rosenthaler Str. 40–41, www.chamaeleonberlin.com) is a historic variety theater venue with a lively program of shows that draw from the contemporary circus style, or nouveau cirque, with shows that blend acrobatics, dance, theater, music, and more. Running all month is Scotch & Soda, a feisty mix of circus and jazz inspired by the secret parties of the Prohibition era. Arrive a little early to explore the cool Hackesche Höfe courtyard complex with its pretty Art Nouveau detailing, then take a seat at one of the theater’s bistro-style tables to feast and imbibe while you’re thoroughly entertained.
Left and inset, below: The Wintergarten Varieté theater in Potsdamer Straße.; Right: scenes and characters from the Wintergarten's