Cabaret in Berlin

If you were infatuated by Liza Minelli's performance as Sally Bowles in the film 'Cabaret' you'll definitely want to take in a show.

Whereas the main focus of the cabaret scene in the Berlin of the 30s was the Ku'damm and the area round Nollendorfplatz, now Variety Shows are spread across the city in numerous locations, east and west. They range from traditional French style chorus-line shows at the Wintergarten or Friedrichstadtpalast, to cutting edge impro at the Chamäleon in Hackescher Markt.

Although the language barrier to non-German speakers can be a problem at political cabaret venues like the Stachelschweine (the porcupine) or the Wühlmäuse (the vole), highly visual and musical acts are easier to follow. You could try the Bar Jeder Vernunft, a red satin-draped tent, decked with mirrors and candles, or in it's more luxurious sister tent, TIPI in Tiergarten, where you'll be served champagne at your table as you take in some of Berlin's brighter stars. In the East the BKA tent at Schlossplatz has more of a circus atmosphere, with a programme mixing visual satire and music.

Regular visitors to Ku'damm venues are 'The Comedian Harmonists', an acapella ensemble, famous in the Berlin of the 30s - a wonderful display of impeccable dress suits, dicky bows, warbling tenors and sonorous basses, laced with somewhat racey innuendo.

If your German is good enough, or if you just want to experience a bit of history, then the Distel (Thistle) on Friedrichstrasse is worth a visit. This cabaret venue, in the old east, was a thorn inh the flesh of the DDR government, poking fun at its bureaucratic absurdities.

Occasional English language shows are put on at by American or British comics at the Brotfabrik (Bread Factory), the old UFA film studios. And in summer the streets abound with eccentric buskers, including impoverished classical musicians from Eastern Europe, African drummers, and wind ensembles from the Andes.

If you'd like us to reserve tickets for a particular event or show, or help you find what you're looking for, you only have to let us know. Choose the entertainment you are interested in the travel request form.

See list of cabaret / varieté venues here.

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