Musicals and opera review: Whiskey bars

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WHISKEY BARS *** THE VAULT (VENUE 29)

"Kurt Weill grew up," states actor Bremner Duthie's character impassionedly near the end of this show, "between a synagogue and a music hall theatre." Thus, Duthie asserts, the composer's life and music reached a perfect balance between the sacred and the profane early on, and there's a real sense of both in his show.

The linking narrative is slight, as Duthie's fragile, unnamed cabaret diva prepares for a club show in the twilight years of his career, at the same time giving an interview to a critic whose approval he unashamedly craves. Although these monologue parts serve mostly to set a scene of theatrical melodrama for the music, the character is convincingly fleshed out by Duthie's queenish performance.

But the music is the main event, and it's sung with all the passion the character brings to bear when introducing it. Duthie's voice and performance give songs like I'm a Stranger Here Myself the perfect level of sexuality and tenderness, while his version of Je ne t'aime pas demonstrates what he means when he says "Weill can break your heart in any language". This show isn't recommended for its theatrical element, but for the drama Duthie convincingly draws from the songs.

Until 25 August. Today 8:40pm