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The sounds of 1930s Germany

PUBLISHED: 11:44 24 February 2001 | UPDATED: 15:03 22 October 2010

Tracey Elster @ The King of Hearts, Norwich. By Martin Barsby

Tracey Elster @ The King of Hearts, Norwich

By Martin Barsby

International cabaret performer Tracy Elster proved last night that you don't need props, special effects or an orchestra to entertain.

All you need is a top-class pianist, a stage and a dramatic and captivating voice.

Elster transported the Tudor music room to 1930s Germany with a powerful, evocative and charged performance.

Well-known songs from the Threepenny Opera, Happy End and others from the Brecht-Weill songbook were performed with flawless and boundless energy.

The songs, all performed in English, brought to life the world, sound and atmosphere of Germany between the wars.

Recently described as "Britain's Lotte Lenya", Elster delivered each song with the drama and passion of pure music theatre.

With Bruce Webb on piano she managed to create a blend of innocence and sensuality.

The intimacy of the occasion was certainly helped by an ideal venue – the performance filled the Tudor room from beam to beam.

The evening was also a tour through the lives of the writers involved.

Each song was neatly followed by a brief narrative putting the individual works into context.

This was excellent news for those of us unfamiliar with the work.

All in all a memorable evening even for a Brecht virgin.

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