Bremner Duthie in ’33 Kabaret at The Hill Street Theatre, Edinburgh

 

 

An actor tumbles onto the blackened stage of a ruined theater. When the lights blaze, he finds himself alone.

His friends and colleagues have disappeared, arrested by the authorities. Only their glittering and torn costumes remain.

Writer and performer Bremner Fletcher Duthie stars in the one-man show ” ’33 (a kabarett)” at Fusion in echoes of both the Holocaust and the present.

A self-described ” ’30s nerd,” Duthie stumbled upon the story of the Eldorado Cabaret in Berlin. An underground club known for its LGBTQ shows and regular performances by Marlene Dietrich, it became an early target of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

“He doesn’t have enough power to attack the Jews and the gypsies,” Duthie said in a telephone interview from New Orleans. “But he has enough power to close the theaters.”

Hitler sent these artists to early versions of the concentration camps, dubbed reeducation camps.

“They were places where people were beaten up or disappeared,” Duthie said.

His play is about speaking out against censorship and oppression, beginning with an actor entering a space only to realize all his friends have vanished.

“What do you do?” Duthie asked. “Do you run and hide?

“He tries to do a version of everybody’s act. He picks up the clothing and tries to do the show.”

Duthie has performed ” ’33 (a kabarett)” across North America, Europe and Asia.

Born in New York, he grew up in northern Scotland and Canada and now lives in New Orleans.

When he first conceived of the show 12 years ago, he thought its relevance would diminish. He performed it in Russia in 2018, removing all mentions of Hitler, he said.

“When I did it in Russia, everybody thought it was about Putin.”