News Ticker

Hans: Mein Camp (Edinburgh Fringe Festival): Review

mein camp Goosestepping into your heart. Hans in 'Hans: Mein Camp.' Photograph: Courtesy of the artist.

Hans’ campaign for world domination is outrageously funny. Hans: Mein Camp is blitzkrieg of glittering cabaret from start to finish.

These are dark times, and Hans thinks it’s time that a German attempt to leads the world once again (it’ll be better than last time, he promises). Hans: Mein Camp presents to you Hans’ wold domination campaign to you, and parties like its 1939!

Concept

How do you start a review about a cabaret/drag act with Nazis aesthetics? Well, I suppose tentatively (especially if you’re flashing a five star rating at the start of it). But if any genre is ripe for pushing the boundaries of what we’re allowed to laugh at, then drag/queer performance would be that, with the caveat that it really needs to do it well. However, Hans: Mein Camp, despite his sequined stormtrooper appearance, is by no means as cheap, obvious, or as eyebrow raising first impressions might be. Hans: Mein Camp is not some bad-taste Nazi-themed comedy, but is actually a deliciously viscous and derangedly witty show mashing loving stereotypes of historic German culture with modern culture, whilst also taking unfettered satirical swipes at the state of modern politics. Rather than causing offence, it’s actually fantastically subversive, well observed, and deliciously ironic. Yes, there are some very tongue-in-cheek jokes here and there, but what’s cabaret without a few of those? Even then, they’re incredibly well pitched and delivered that offence really is the last thing you’re taking.

The most ingenious parts of Hans’ performance is the inspired Weimar cabaret mash-ups: expect tap-dancing, Rodgers and Hammerstein meets Kurt Weil, and modern pop hits on a piano accordion. Add to that some completely polished and sublimely savage cabaret banter and you’ve got a scandalously funny show. Hans: Mein Camp hardly has on misstep in it but plenty of side-splitting laughs.

Of course, like with any cabaret, Hans: Mein Camp is rather reliant on the audience. But given how slick and sensational Hans’ act is, it’s difficult to imagine an audience that doesn’t take to it like an American college sophomore to Oktoberfest. The night I was there to review, the audience were insanely game which just made the evening completely sublime. What’s more, when Hans’ band, The Ungrateful Basterds, are laughing and getting into the show as much as the audience are, you know it’s a damn fine show.

Performance

Hans work and capitalise on a crowd and its their prowess in interacting with them that real steals the show. The tea is perfectly brewed and the bants fired with dead-eye precision. Hans is clearly a seasoned cabaret performer and never misses an opportunity to get those extra laughs in, and never falters when getting them out. Furthermore, Hans is genuinely an incredible musician, tinkling the ivories as gloriously and astonishingly as his accordion: a tremendous all round performer with musical skill as astonishing as their fierce cabaret.

Verdict

German precision has never been so on-point. Hans: Mein Camp is one of the most completely inspired and original shows at the fringe: you’ll laugh until your bratwurst bursts.

Hans: Mein Camp plays at the Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302), until 28 August. For times, tickets, and prices, visit tickets.edfringe.com.