Monday, 4 April 2011

'The Double Bass' at the New End Theatre, Hampstead

The German writer Patrick Suesskind is probably best known for his book 'Perfume' which was also made into a film, though he had his breakthrough in 1981 with the play Der Kontraba├č (The Double Bass).
The play is a highly amusing and entirely accurate monologue of a tragi-comical musician about the trials of playing the double-bass. He has however as many problems with his instrument as he has with his role in the orchestra and in his private life:

It's more of an obstacle than a musical instrument. [...] It stands around the whole time, you know ... there was this uncle of mine who was always ill, and he always complained there was no one looking after him. The double-bass is just like that. If you have friends round, it always hogs the limelight. No one will talk about anything else. And if you're wanting to be alone with a woman, it stands there, looming over you.

I saw the play first some time ago with a group of fellow musicians and afterwards we just could not stop telling each other how very well the author had described the orchestral world. It is probably even funnier if you are not a musician, because if you are, you will find yourself sadly agreeing with a lot of the (not always complementary) comments and observations on stage. This monodram offers comedy, social analysis and brilliant observations of a world not known to many, but which reflects our own social cosmos only too well.

The 'musician in crisis' with Christopher Hunter as the double bass player will be on stage at the New End Theatre from 6 to 24 April 2011. 

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