Aletia Upstairs: A Queer Love Of Dix

by Alex Coley

The Planet Bar

13th, 14th & 19th (18.00)

Aletia has spent a lot of time with The Grand Master Demarco, who is a local hero in Edinburgh and further afield, to gain the inspiration for her performance art. Heralding from Cape Town in South Africa, now residing in London, Aletia is about to complete her PHD entitled ‘An Imaginative Exploration and Performative Manifestation of the Richard Demarco archive. As inspiring muses go, only greatness could be drawn from spending time with Richard Demarco (CBE), whose European Art Foundation is based at Summerhall in Edinburgh, which is where this performance should have taken place, Indeed both my editor of the Mumble and myself had thought that Summerhall was where this performance was being presented. I arrived there on Saturday after my pretend Telly interview on Middle Meadow Walk, went into the press office and asked for my review tickets for Aletia Upstairs. Only to be met with blank faces. It was one of them moments. OMG, I’m in the wrong place with 10mins to performance time. Its an easy mistake to have made. We phoned Aletia and apologized and rearranged our date for the following night’s performance.

The Performance.
It’s a catchy one for the Fringe. Set in the world of expressionist painter Otto Dix, Julia Berber – Anita Berber’s fictional sister – sings Weimar cabaret songs and relates the Weimar period to contemporary events.

If you want to hear good singing and wonderful music, find out how the Weimar Republic relates to our world today and sing along – in a German accent – to some classic cabaret songs, come see it!
Read the full interview

FullVintageAlex CowleyThis was the time in Germany after the Kaiser had fled and The First World War had ended, and for a short period of time, sexual freedom and Socialism became the Arts’ best friend. Indeed my experience of last weeks Deitrich performance in The Pleasance Courtyard had ignited my wonder for this inspiring period in history, because so much great art and cultural inspiration had been drawn from the epoch. With this in my mind and with Aletia’s glowing credentials, I was giddy with the expectation of witnessing something very special. I was not disappointed, Aletia’s Queer Love Of Dix was performed to a backdrop of the paintings Otto Dix had painted through the Weimar period. Bringing to life Julie Beiber & taking us back to 1930’s Germany, Aletia showed us life through the eyes of a performance artist at that important time in world history. Combining a well-crafted script and beautifully sung songs drawn from the period to perfection, we were shown our age’s relation to those halycon Weimar times; reflected by present-day Tory austerity and the rise of The Third Reich.

A Queer Love Of Dix really has the potential to be massive, well indeed it is the work that will make this beautiful lady a Professor in the world of performance art.

The Venue.
The Planet Bar is as camp as they come, a small watering hole in Edinburgh’s Pink Triangle. The performance stage was right next to the Gents toilets, with a big heavy door that gave a really big bang every time the door closed. The walkway to the toilet was right through the performance space and non of the men going for a pee gave any respect for this performance of mastery that was taking place. This was frustrating me as much as it was Aletia. Rising above the struggle and against the downfalls of such a poor venue choice, an evolving masterful work was presented. After the performance, Aletia told me that Saturday’s gig was much worse. It made me wonder if her venue location manager had been sacked yet. With a work of such outstanding quality, one can only see this as a work in progress. A dress rehearsal for the greatness that will come. A Queer Love Of Dix is a quality piece of theatre and performance art that given the right venue and the right stage, will shine its magic to perfection.Great things will come.

Mark ‘Divine’Calvert


Venue = 1 star

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