Come warm your hands at the Eldorado with Joe Black
Notorious cabaret reprobate Joe Black invites you to step back for a night out in his tribute to the infamous Berlin nightclub, The Eldorado.
With new original songs and stories alongside tributes to more recognisable artists, Joe pays homage to the decadent Weimar Berlin nightlife with this one-man show.
‘The idea is to hark back to the cabarets of 1920s Berlin,’ says Joe. ‘But it’s not just a tribute show, it’s not just the songs, it’s more about the vibe and that escapism.
‘It’s a loose theme to create the vibe for what is essentially a night of comedy and fun and song and all of that. It hasn’t got an agenda, it’s fun escapism.’
Joe went to see what has become of The Eldorado during a recent trip to Berlin.
‘The building’s still there, but a lot of the cabarets of the time were destroyed. Now it’s a supermarket, which is a bit sad, but they’ve still got the sign and there’s framed pictures from the club inside, by the vegetables and that.
‘After it got closed down for morality reasons because the upcoming government at the time wasn’t so keen on what was going on, it got turned into a headquarters for the SS I believe, so it’s got quite a dark history.
‘It’s the club that the film Cabaret is partially based on, that and The Cabaret of the name. The writer Christopher Isherwood was a frequenter of The Eldorado, and I think that’s where he would have seen Sally Bowles, as played by Liza Minnelli.
‘I was fascinated by the story of it. It was Weimar, a time when there was a big creative outpouring and that was really thriving, but no-one had any money, so they went to these places to escape.
‘As you went in to the club there a sign: “Don’t worry about the cold of winter. Here you can warm your hands.” And above the club it said: “Here it is right,” to say to people you can come here and be yourself, which will be part of the set, to try and hark back as much as possible.’
While Joe enjoys studying the history, he insists he’s not wearing rose-tinted glasses about the period.
‘I don’t look back and say wouldn’t it be great to live in the 1930s? No, it would be horrible! But that’s why we can look back and take the parts we find interesting and inspiring.
‘Realistically, the vibe I’m creating isn’t what it was like at the time, but it’s what I’ve taken from it and what I imagine the place to be.’
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Sunday, November 6