“A cacophonic concoction of cabaret, drag, physical storytelling, original songs, live music and new writing,” is how the brains behind new show Ballad of the Burning Star describe their new show coming to the Unity next month.
“Armed with music, killer heels and a lethal troop of divas, an enraged Israeli executes a story of victimhood, persecution, aggression and love. With shrapnel-sharp voices and moves as smooth as an oiled tank chain, this cabaret troop invites you on a journey into the core of the conflicted Jewish State.”
Goodness me. They had me at killer heels. Ballad of the Burning Star is an award-winning musical play from Theatre Ad Infinitum that debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe last year – you may have seen the company’s previous critically-acclaimed show Translunar Paradise, which has passed through the Unity a couple of times.
The play is the story of one Jewish boy’s struggle to come to terms with the conflict raging in his homeland of Israel, and is inspired by the real life experiences of the company’s co-artistic director Nir Paldi, who wrote, directed and performs in the show.
Paldi plays the MC, the high-heeled and hairy-chested drag-queen Star, supported by a glittering troupe, The Starlets. Together, under a shining Star of David mirror ball, they examine an Israeli man’s childhood in a Jewish settlement built on occupied Palestinian territory, the perpetual war that tore his family apart, and the traumatic events of his military service that made him ask: “Am I a victim or a persecutor?”
“I wanted to explore the identity crisis facing my homeland,” says Nir Paldi. “It was a big risk for me, highlighting and publicly airing the bare facts of the conflicts and contradictions of today’s Israel. This is a dark subject matter, but we have approached it playfully.
“Elements of cabaret, sanguine humour, and drag act as a colourful counter-balance to the tragic elements of our story. And it’s worked; Ballad provoked passionate debate and reactions – from anger and sadness to excitement and astonishment at Edinburgh. We’re now really looking forward to coming to Liverpool again. We can’t wait to find out what new audiences will make of it.”
And we know he’s not just saying that – as another of Theatre ad Infinitum’s co-directors, George Mann, is from the city, so they always have an excuse to come back.
Catch it at the Unity on March 11 and 12. Tickets cost £14 (£12 conc) and the show starts at 8pm. Visit their website or call 0151 709 4988.
MADE UP is a blog that attempts to cram in as wide a variety of news, reviews and interviews on theatre happenings in Liverpool as possible.
If you're a theatre company or performer with something to shout about, I would love to feature you and help to spread the word about what you're doing.
© Vicky Anderson 2013