Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: The Reichstag Is Burning

The Reichstag Is Burning is a thought provoking piece of cabaret that is well worth viewing.


Presented by: Hartstone-Kitney Productions
Reviewed 24 February 2022

After a successful, award-winning run at the 2021 Adelaide Fringe, The Reichstag Is Burning has once again returned to the 2022 Fringe, but this time as an ‘on demand’ watch from home performance.

The Reichstag Is Burning, written and performed by Joanne Hartstone, is a cabaret performance that incorporates parodies of popular songs, spoken word and visual aids to tell the story of Hitler’s rise in power leading into World War II. Not only does it look at Hitler’s beliefs and views on the political climate of the time, but how his rise to power affected the cabaret clubs and the arts industry in Germany at the time.

Filmed in front of a live audience in 2021 from Black Box Theatres, the producers Hartstone-Kitney Productions have a string of ‘on demand’ shows on offer at this year’s fringe, made possible through several government grants. It’s a great initiative from Black Box Theatres, especially in our current climate where there is still a lot of uncertainty, and many people feel safer watching theatre from the comfort of their own homes to avoid the crowds.

Joanne Hartstone is a very engaging performer. She has a great ability to weave the narrative in a captivating way through her performance. From fun loving, flirty looks to the audience, through to anguish and turmoil, Joanne doesn’t over do anything – every more she makes, every look she gives, is executed perfectly. For the most part, Joanne’s voice suits the parody numbers in the show. The arrangements and accompaniment by Emma Knights capture the mood perfectly.

Unfortunately, there were parts of this production that have not transferred to film as effectively as you might hope. If you were seeing this live and ‘in the room’, you would easily be able to take in everything this production has to offer – song and narrative, projection and lighting. However, on the screen, the projections in particular felt at times very busy and distracting, actually detracting from Joanne’s work on the stage. Also, several numbers felt about a verse and chorus too long. Once again, seeing the show live, I don’t think this would have been the case as you were ‘in the moment’. Putting this aside, The Reichstag Is Burning is a very moving piece of theatre.

With a very different Fringe this year, being able to view theatre from home is to be applauded. The Reichstag Is Burning is a thought provoking piece of Cabaret that is well worth viewing.

The Reichstag Is Burning is available for at home streaming until Sunday 20 March. Tickets through FringeTix or at . 

Reviewed by: Ben Stefanoff
Twitter: @theartsislife

Venue: At home – live on demand streaming
Season: Until March 20, can be viewed any time
Duration: 1 hour, 10mins
Tickets: $20

Rating out of 5: 4

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