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The Life & Death Orchestra

The Life & Death Orchestra
This Way For The Gas Ladies & Gentlemen
(page 106)
Drams 0
Venue Komedia Southside (82)
Address 117 Nicholson St, 667 2212

This is a unique show - a collection of poems on the holocaust set to music. It is simple but moving. Some of the songs are hauntingly beautiful and will linger in the mind long after the performance is over.

The lyrics - which include work by two nobel laureates - are very powerful. It's the mix that hits you. There are terrible images, of course, and horrific gallows humour, as in Children ("You'd think it would be harder to kill the children. It's easy. They can be thrown in the air for target practice..."). However these are intertwined with poems of life, dignity - even love. And they have the terrible force of being true. A couple of pieces are responses to the holocaust but most are auto-biographical. One is a last message from a child, thrown from a train: "Don't cry for me Mummy, I am strong." Also included is a simple meditation on more recent genocides by British poet Kevin Carey: "Remember, Dachau which you said, would never happen, again."

The quality of playing is excellent. The music, which has an appropriately eastern european feel to it, sets of the poems well. Soft sad waltzs predominate, although a couple of pieces are pared down to rhythm and a tortured violin.

There are flaws to this show (most notably Bill Smith is a better composer than singer) but the strength of the poetry shines through. It must be the most tragic moving show in the festival.

Runs until 17 Aug at 1:pm (2:30). Tickets £7 (£5)
� Daniel Winterstein, 16th August 2001


© Daniel Winterstein 1998-2008

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