If you’re looking for a unique experience in Berlin, book yourself into a show at the Chamäleon theatre. And if you’re lucky enough to be visiting in the next few months, you’ll be able to catch their latest spectacle, the delightfully entertaining Memories of Fools.
Memories of Fools is the latest production from legendary Czech circus company Cirk La Putyka. The show takes you on a whimsical journey through your childhood dreams and keeps you guessing as the plot twists from reality to fantasy. The fun and energetic performance is underwritten with a strong storytelling element that gathers momentum throughout the show.
Read on to find out more about this charming tale told in the most sumptuous of surroundings.
The incredible Chamäleon theatre
Walking into the Chamäleon Theatre is like stepping into another era. The lavish Art Nouveau style ballroom delivers a luxurious experience to the eye, without being ostentatious. Traditional parquet flooring is met by dark wood panelling on the walls, and the addition of thick crimson curtains adds to the appeal.
The ballroom is laden with bistro-style chairs and tables, delivering a more intimate experience than the usual straight row-style seating arrangement. At the front of the theatre, the modest stage sits tantalisingly close to the seating area. A thick velvet curtain hangs from the ceiling to conceal the set design until it’s revealed at show time.
It’s certainly the ideal environment to immerse yourself in theatre. And indeed, Memories of Fools is an enveloping experience as the cast takes full advantage of the stage and ballroom floor.
Chamäleon Theatre in Berlin
Berlin’s Chamäleon theatre is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, and in that time it has become the go-to place for Cirque Nouveau. It is the only theatre in Germany to exclusively showcase new circus and its dedication to the art is multifaceted. Not only do they host extraordinary acts on the stage, but they’re also heavily involved in the production of new circus through their sister company, Chamäleon Productions.
The Chamäleon theatre is located in the Hackesche Höfe courtyards in the centre of Berlin. They host two shows a year, with performances every day of the week except Mondays. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or at the ticketing booth at the entrance to the Hackesche Höfe.
Memories of Fools
I’m not a regular theatre attendee, so I was a little unsure of what to expect of the contemporary circus genre. Nevertheless, I normally enjoy the unique energy of live productions and I was excited for my debut experience at the Chamäleon theatre.
As the first performers appear before the curtain, the stage is unveiled to reveal a complex setup of overlapping wooden frames and there is a tangible excitement in the air.
The first half of the show focuses more on the elements of storytelling than those of the heart pumping displays typical of contemporary circus, but it is utterly compelling. Theatrical performances combine with magic tricks and puppetry to tell the tale of a young boy’s dream. A dream of learning to fly, and one day maybe making it to the moon…
It’s a scenario a lot of people can relate to, either from their own childhood fantasies, or those of their children and/or grandchildren. This, combined with the cleverly timed news clips of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon (the show coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing) makes the storyline, which could otherwise venture into the abstract, even more engaging.
As the show progresses, the storyline unfolds and we watch as the young boy realises his dream. It’s from the second half that the tempo changes and the audience’s mouths collectively gape at the antics being executed before us.
The performer’s talents get the chance to really shine here and we’re treated to a wide range of acrobatics alongside bouts of dancing, comedy and mime. Fanciful characters take to the stage in their numbers and you’re kept guessing as to who will pop up next! It’s easy to get caught up in the ambience and you’ll find your feet tapping along to the music before a tempo change has you gripping the seat or grinning at the sight of a flying bunny wagging his tail to the beat.
Overall, Memories of Fools is a heartwarming and thoroughly captivating show. The immensely talented members of the Cirk La Putyka really rise to the occasion to deliver a multidisciplinary display that will appeal to the masses.
Cirk La Putyka
Czech circus Cirk La Putyka celebrates their 10 year anniversary in 2019 and the company is flourishing – winning awards and performing at venues worldwide.
They excel at bringing each of the performer’s unique talents to the story in a way that feels intrinsically organic. Acrobatics, theatre, contemporary dance, puppetry, concert and athletics combine to deliver a contemporary circus show that has been taken to new heights!
Practical information for visiting Berlin
While visiting Berlin, I stayed at the centrally located Holiday Inn Hotel. Right next door to the popular Alexanderplatz, it was the perfect base to explore Berlin and was a short 15-minute walk from the Chamäleon theatre. The room I stayed in was fairly compact. But it was modern, clean, and well equipped – so I’d highly recommend it as an affordable place to stay in Berlin.
Getting around Berlin is inherently easy. The public transport system is uncomplicated, and if you pick up a Berlin Welcome Card from the airport you’ll be able to jump on & off as you please, without having to purchase tickets each time.
I had an amazing time at my first foray into the world of new circus. Memories of Fools was equally enchanting as it was enthralling. And I can’t think of a better place to experience the thrills and comedic value of the show than the Chamäleon theatre.
Next time you’re in the city, do yourself a favour and grab some tickets to their latest circus!
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*I was hosted in Berlin by the Chamäleon theatre for the purposes of providing this review. As always, I retain full editorial control and all opinions expressed are my own.