Monday, 26 September 2016

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Theater Basel | B | E (Dance evening by Joëlle Bouvier and Alexander Ekman)

 B | E is a dance evening with works by Joëlle Bouvier and Alexander Ekman, two leading contemporary choreographers.

Swiss choreographer Joëlle Bouvier presents her work Jeanne d'Arc in a beautiful and very powerful way. The choreography tells us the story of the two sides of Jeanne d'Arc, the vulnerable and innocent girl and the strong leader of a whole army. These two completely opposite sides of her become tangible in a very touching choreography, that is not only showing us her story in a metaphorical way through dance but also in a narrative way, in a way that allows you to see the different stations of her life until the tragic ending.
We think Jeanne d'Arc is a very touching and emotional choreography and the dancers were outstanding.

The second part of the evening was Alexander Ekman's Cacti, a humorous choreography about the way people look at art. It is a fast-paced piece where 12 dancers (originally 16 dancers) perform on white square pedestals, a combination of live music (by Pacific Quartet Vienna), a voice speaking, the dancers making noises (like breathing, clapping, laughing) and recorded music.
In the 30 minutes of the impressive choreography Alexander Ekman shows us many different ways of movement in a very entertaining way, it is pure joy to watch the dancers perform in groups, alone or in pairs. As the name says, of course there are also Cacti in the choreography, in an exaggerated and very funny way. We think Cacti is absolutely fantastic and we love the way Ekman teases the audience with his choreography.

Especially the contrast between the two parts of B | E is what made the evening very special, allowing both parts to sink in individually. Unlike other ballet performances, B | E is showed at the Schauspielhaus at the Theater Basel, which we think is a very good location for these two choreographies, as the audience is closer to the stage and therefor the connection between audience and dancers is more intense.

Jeanne d'Arc:
choreography, stage, costumes: Joëlle Bouvier
music: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
light: Jordan Tuinman, Joëlle Bouvier

Debora Maiques Marin, Tana Rosás Suné, Ayako Nakano, Ster Slijkhuis, Ruben Banol Herrera, Armando Braswell, Sergio Bustinduy, Mirko Campigotto, David Castelló Garcia, Jorge García Pérez, Julian Juarez Castan, Florent Mollet, Alessandro Navarro Barbeito, Frank Fannar Pedersen, Anthony Ramiandrisoa, Javier Rodriguez Cobos, Max Zachrisson

choreography, costumes: Alexander Ekman
stage designer: Alexander Ekman, Tom Visser
light: Tom Visser
text: Spenser Theberge
music: Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert
live music by Pacific Quartet Vienna

Alba Carbonell Castillo, Raquel Rey Ramos, Andrea Tortosa Vidal, Debora Maiques Marin, Sidney Elizabeth Turtschi, Dévi-Azélia Selly, Sol Bilbao Lucuix, Luna Mertens, Tana Rosás Suné, Lydia Caruso
Tana Rosás Suné and Frank Fannar Pedersen
Dévi-Azélia Selly and Anthony Ramiandrisoa
Andrea Tortosa Vidal and Javier Rodriguez Cobos

© pictures: Ismael Lorenzo

Friday, 23 September 2016

LUSH | Halloween 2016

The LUSH Halloween collection 2016 is very colourful with a lot of green and orange and comes with the typical halloween elements like pumpkins, ghosts and little monsters.
Among all the great products like the green lord of misrule bath bomb that turns your water deep red or boo the little bath ghost that creates a mysterious fog when you throw it into the water, our two favourite products are the autumn leaf bath bomb (this one will be available until christmas) and the pumpkin bath bomb.

The autumn leaf bath bomb turns your bath water into a beautiful foamy autumn landscape, with the water changing from yellow, to red, orange and green and back.
The scent is absolutely enchanting, we love the earthy note of sandalwood in combination with the fresh citrusy scent of bergamot and this is definitely our number one bath bomb for fall.

The pumpkin bath bomb makes your bathtub look like a delicious pumpkin soup and the scent is very warm and even a bit spicy. 
Containing vanilla and cinnamon it reminds us of the scent when we are baking sweet winter biscuits and the palmarosa adds a floral note we like very much.

After a long time of researching and trying to find the perfect formula, LUSH managed to create the 2016 Halloween collection completely self-preserving, meaning that there are no preservatives used in the products, which we think is a fantastic step!
The LUSH 2016 halloween collection is available from September 23 2016.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Ohlala | Crazy, Sexy, Artistic

This years Ohlala Show Scandalo by Gregory and Rolf Knie was a breathtaking spectacle of aesthetic bodies, incredible artists, sensual dance, beautiful, elaborate costumes and wonderful music.
The sixth act of Ohlala did not cease to impress after the last few shows, every year we are surprised by new artistic acts, comedians and dancers and Scandalo is a wonderful, hot and unforgettable show.

Saulo Sarmientos aerial pole act was one of our favourite acts. We have never seen something like it and it was absolutely beautiful to watch him perform.

The dancers of Scandalo showed us more than one wonderful and sensual dance on stage, we really liked the part where they were all dancing together in tight white clothing and got sprayed with water, which made the clothes stick to the skin, emphasizing the body and the movements even more.

Pavel Stankevich, the handstand artist, has an incredible strength. His slow and precise movements on both or even just on one hand were incredible to watch.

Amongst these three there were many other fantastic artists, like the rubber man comedian Captain Frodo, who made us laugh and cringe at the same time, the Juggler Andrey Maslov who did not just juggle but combined it with dance and movements, the Duo Throwings who had us hold our breath more than once when he was spinning her through the air and many more.
The show was accompanied by the singer Black Gatsby who enchanted us with his versatile and wonderful voice all evening long.

Ohlala is playing in Dübendorf until 23 October.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Theater Basel | Ich bin wie ihr, ich liebe Äpfel (I'm like you, I love apples)

I'm like you, I love apples is a play by Theresia Walser. The comedy brings together three dictators wives, Mrs Imelda (wife of the dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos), Mrs. Margot (wife of Erich Honecker) and Mrs Leila (wife of the Tunisia president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
The three women come together for a press conference publicizing a documentary film about their lives and are waiting to make their appearances together with a translator.
During the wait, the three women brag about their husbands, their achievements and their power, make fun of each other and are mostly interested in talking about themselves. Therefore it takes them a while to realize that the translator does not seem to be so particular about his translations. He takes the liberties to streamline or expand their sentences, comment on them or even translate something completely different to what they actually wanted to say.
Of course this leads to a lot of misunderstandings, disagreements and chaos on stage.
We think the play and the actors were fantastic, we laughed so much and the constellation of these three ruthless women being forced to wait in the same room with only one translator to help them communicate is just hilarious.

Florian von Manteuffel as GOTTFRIED
Katja Jung as MRS IMELDA
Franziska Hackl as MRS MARGOT
Nicola Kirsch as MRS LEILA

production: Sebastian Schug
stage and costumes: Christian Kiehl
dramatic composition: Constanze Kargl

© pictures: Simon Hallström

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Theater Basel | Die tote Stadt (The dead city)

The opera the dead city based on Georges Rodenbachs novel 'Bruges-la-Morte' is Erich Wolfgang Korngolds masterpiece. For Simon Stone (director of Engel in Amerika and John Gabriel Borkman that will play again this season at the Theater Basel October 9th 2016) it is his debut as an opera director and the production is conducted by Theater Basel’s Music Director Erik Nielsen.
The stage setting is like an apartment with everything there is, a living room, a bedroom, a kitchen and even a fully functioning shower. The rooms are always open to at least one side and as the house is on a rotating platform the audience can see every room.
Paul settles in Bruges after the death of his wife Marie, unable to deal with his loss he attempts to preserve her existence by creating a room he calls his "church of the past", the walls full of pictures of her and an altar for the wig made of her hair. He lives a secluded life until he meets the dancer Marietta who in his eyes looks exactly like his dead wife. By keeping her close he hopes to be able to bring back Marie into his life and he becomes more and more absorbed in an obsessive love. But the closer he gets to Marietta the more he sees how different she really is to Marie and he starts to realize that in this life there is no way to bring back the dead.

We think the story is very sad and hopeless and it is hard to watch him being sucked deeper and deeper into this destructive love. The staging is very impressive and towards the end it is not only in the music you can tell him is stuck and sees no way out of his misery but also in the arrival of a crowd of women dressed just like Marie, men dressed like Paul and children dressed all the same hassling him on stage and the abstract and senseless composition of the different rooms of the apartment.

Rolf Romei as PAUL
Helena Juntunen as MARIETTA / MARIE
Sebastian Wartig as FRANK/FRITZ
Eve-Maud Hubeaux as BRIGITTA
Ye Eun Choi as JULIETTE
Sofia Pavone as LUCIENNE
Karl-Heinz Brandt as VICTORIN
Nathan Haller as DUKE ALBERT

piano: Leonid Maximov and Iryna Krasnovska
choir of the Theater Basel
Mädchen- und Knabenkantorei Basel
Symphony orchestra Basel

musical direction: Erik Nielsen
production: Simon Stone
stage: Ralph Myers
costumes: Mel Page
choir: Henryk Polus
dramatic composition: Juliane Luster

pictures © Sandra Then

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Theater Basel | Farinet oder das falsche Geld (Farinet or fake money)

Farinet or fake money is a play by Reto Finger about the money forger Joseph-Samuel Farinet who distributed self-made coins among the population. Fascinating about this is the fact that his fake coins were used for more than 10 years in Switzerland, even though you could easy tell that they are not real even banks accepted his coins and the police could not intervene anymore as there were too much of his coins in circulation. After getting imprisoned his girlfriend Joséphine helps him escape, he is a bon vivant and very popular among the locals, therefor he gets a lot of help after his escape.
The play raises questions like whether he is just a criminal or a hero? What is the definition of freedom? And who decides what is right and what is wrong?

The stage setting remains the same during the whole play, there is a wooden chalet in the middle of the stage and a ladder on the left side of the stage for when he descends to his hiding place.
The music and the background sounds were beautiful, the actors were sometimes singing traditional swiss melodies and the sound effects really made us believe we are inside a huge cave.
Depending on the scene the play of light created a tense, mysterious or even hopeful and bright atmosphere and the actors were absolutely fantastic.
Another thing we liked was the use of the Swiss dialects during some parts of the play, which made the story even more authentic.
It is an excellent staging of the legendary story of an extraordinary man.

Nicola Mastroberardino as FARINET

production: Nora Schlocker
stage & costumes: Jessica Rockstroh
light: HeidVoegelinLights
music: Albrecht Dornauer
dramatic composition: Katrin Michaels

pictures © Kim Culetto

Friday, 16 September 2016

Theater Basel | Im Turm zu Basel (in the tower of Basel)

The play in the tower of Basel is a comedy by Theresia Walser. 
It is a play about the activities of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a bank that is like a tiny state within a state where nobody knows what is really going on behind the big curtains. Discussions about transparency, currency and the future of the banking system, immunity, emerging countries and power take place in this stumpy tower block near the train station in Basel, where every two months the world's most powerful central bankers meet for dinner.
The deafness of the two waitresses comes handy to the business men, as they don't have to worry about them blabbing the secrets that are discussed during these dinners. At the same time they all seem to be deaf to certain topics aswell, repeating the same phrases over and over again, refusing to change their point of view, sometimes it seems they are rather talking in monologues next to each other than really having a conversation.
When Mr. Greeper dies just before dinner the situation threatens to derail, so Tronje (who never leaves the tower) decides that not even death should stop Mr. Greeper from taking his seat at the table and continuing to reign the tower of Basel.

We think it was a fantastic play, especially as the topic is something that is part of the day-to-day business in Basel. Everybody has seen the tower of the BIS bank, but some parts of it still remain a mystery to outsiders. The way the actors speak and act creates like a little mini-cosmos around every character and they all seem to co-exist in this tower, sometimes colliding but most of the time just existing indifferently in parallel. The structure of the sentences was also very special and the skillful puns made us laugh a lot. It was a very entertaining play with excellent actors and a fluent and strong storyline.

Thomas Reisinger as MR. GREEPER, HEAD OF THE TOWER
Orlando Klaus as GUSTON
Simon Zagermann as FERCHEL
Liliane Amuat as FINE (WAITRESS)
Carina Braunschmidt as LYNN (WAITRESS)

production: Sebastian Schug
stage: Christian Kiehl
costumes: Nicole Zielke
music: Johannes Winde
dramatic composition: Constanze Kargl

pictures © Simon Hallström

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Theaterfestival Basel 2016

The Theaterfestival Basel took place in Basel from August 30 until September 11 2016 presenting 20 productions from different countries. We saw amazing performances, theatre, dance, nouveau cirque and installations.
We would like to present two of the shows, the first one is a Nouveau Cirque Performance called Face Nord by the artists from un loup pour l'homme.

The performance of the four artists was breathtaking, it really was a nouveau cirque unlike anything we have seen before. Accompanied by music by Franz Schubert they created delicate human sculptures and pyramids and showed us a performance where the four artists were sometimes partners but a moment later opponents. One thing we loved about the performance was how they managed to make the strong masculinity look so soft and vulnerable in some parts of the performance. They made a movement that is very strong and almost brutal look light as a feather and almost tender, and a sometimes even comic touch loosened up the tension between breakneck acts.
This created a very powerful and captivating atmosphere where the audience had to switch between holding the breath and laughing constantly.

The Apocalypse by the Polish director Michał Borczuch and the scriptwriter Tomasz Śpiewak was a 2 hour play on a constantly changing stage, showing us mercilessly a cultural apocalypse, a broken Europe failing to solve current problems like conflicts, a refugee crisis, the divide between rich and poor. The director does not show us beauty and harmony but the ugliness and hopelessness in these problems and the modern Europe's reaction to them. This is shown in many different scenes, like the actress who can not cry as her role requests when she is facing the homeless guy, as she has just seen him eating sandwiches from the catering a moment before. She keeps constantly claiming that she is not responsible for his situation and could not change it even if she wanted to. The photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Carter gets confronted by a man and a woman about his infamous photo of a vulture waiting to feed on a starving toddler. Was the girl saved? Is she alive? What happened after he took this picture?
Another scene there is a refugee we can not see as he is hidden under a cover but we hear him talking. He came from Ghana in a boat, he gets questioned and examined upon his arrival by a man wearing protective clothing, only touching him with gloves.
During the whole play the journalist Oriana Fallaci and the director Pier Paolo Pasolini keep entering the scene, talking in monologues and disappearing again.
Pasolinis last interview is reenacted word for word, he talks about how we all have become puppets of the system, how there are no longer humans but machines, colliding with each other from time to time. That we are all victims of the system, but at the same time we are all guilty.
The power of the actors is incredible, every scene is very strong, confronting the audience directly in a thought-provoking and straightforward way.
After the play, which already gives you a lot to think about, the director talks to the audience about the current situation in Poland, they are "being attacked from the inside and afraid of the cultural future of Poland", asking for our solidarity. Another very strong and touching speech, leaving us pensive and upset.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Annemarie Börlind | hydro gel mask

One of the new Annemarie Börlind masks is the hydro gel mask, which we think is the perfect treatment after a long day in the sun as it also reliefs the feeling of tightness on the skin.
The botanical hyaluronic acid is very similar to the hyaluronic acid in the human body and therefore the hydro gel mask also has a smoothing effect on the skin and helps to reduce wrinkles.
The hydro gel mask is very relaxing and feels cool on the skin and has a wonderful fresh scent that reminds us of a fresh sea breeze.
It remains moist while leaving it on, what calms the skin gently. The mask does not sink into the skin completely and provides intensive care.
 It moisturizes the skin deeply and balances the natural moisture of the skin, leaving it refreshed and radiant.
After leaving the mask on for 10 minutes it can be washed off gently with warm water, but for us the refreshed feeling remained on the skin for much longer.
The hydro gel mask is vegan.