Gavin Friday - Tomorrow Belongs To Me, at Liberty Hall, Dublin

Audience-involved spin-the-bottle, colourful strobe lights and a man wearing a feather boa while crooning Marlene Dietrich’s ‘Lili Marlene’ and ‘Falling In Love Again’? A remarkable ‘Ave Maria’ coming from an opera singer who could be the lovechild of Gene Simmons and the bride of Frankenstein? The combination may seem a bit puzzling – but when it’s coming from the bold and brilliant mind of Gavin Friday, it all makes perfect sense.

Audience-involved spin-the-bottle, colourful strobe lights and a man wearing a feather boa while crooning Marlene Dietrich’s ‘Lili Marlene’ and ‘Falling In Love Again’? A remarkable ‘Ave Maria’ coming from an opera singer who could be the lovechild of Gene Simmons and the bride of Frankenstein? The combination may seem a bit puzzling – but when it’s coming from the bold and brilliant mind of Gavin Friday, it all makes perfect sense.

Tomorrow Belongs To Me was an unpredictable mix of German cabaret cross-bred with gothic disco, in a musical and visual tribute to pre- and post-WWII German culture, covering music, art, film and literature. An ambitious project then, with musical theatre, both serious and camp, blending seamlessly with scenes from classic German films like The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari. The sultry, throaty and sometimes androgynous vocals of Friday tore through an impressive, compilation-worthy set list of songs linked in one way or another to Germany, courtesy of artists like Kraftwerk, Lou Reed and Siouxsie and the Banshees, with bits of ‘99 Luft Balllons’ and ’Tomorrow’ from Annie thrown in. The music, superbly executed by Friday’s backing band, and the dancers – pale and clad in black like silent movie images – on their own would have been worth the price of admission.

The true highlight came as Nosferatu played on the two screens framing the stage and an ominous shadow prowled behind the movable, opaque windows like something out of a creepy fun-house, only for Gavin to slink out seductively and perform an enthralling version of Bauhaus’ ‘Bela Lugosi's Dead’ . Closing with a medley of ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’, a little ‘Celtic Reich Tiger’ and Boney M's ‘Daddy Cool’, the show was just that: oozing cool.

 

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