Stuttgart Varieté winter cabaret show seduces, delights

The Friedrichsbau Varieté Theater, or Variety Theater, in downtown Stuttgart invites patrons to make a wish and dive into an imaginary world during “Youkali-Way to Paradise,” a winter cabaret-like show that runs through Feb. 11.

 A glamorous hotel from the 1920s sets the stage for a cabaret show that combines acrobatic and artistic acts with comedy and musical entertainment.
The Youkali Hotel represents a place without time and space, where wishes come true and coincidental happenings leave room for many surprises.

The hotel “guests” are artists, aristocrats, artistic performers and funny folk. All guests have the same purpose: They want to participate in the hotel’s yearly gala event.

The opera singer “Countess Niessnerova” and the pianist “Mr. Leu” are the hosts and welcome hotel guests and theatergoers alike to “paradise and a timeless travel to the inner self.”

“Youkali unites classical musical elements with breathtaking aerial acrobatics and artistic acts that have never been performed at the Varieté,” said Mascha Hülsewig, spokeswoman for the Friedrichsbau Varieté in Stuttgart. “The show is festive, funny and some parts are simply absurd.”

According to Hülsewig, one of the show’s highlights are the “Aerialistas” from Seattle. The all-woman aerial-burlesque troupe performs synchronized dance numbers, sometimes just inches above the audience’s heads. The fact that everything takes place right in front of the audience makes for an emotional experience, according to Hülsewig.

One of the Varietés highlights is that the stage extends out into the audience.
“At the Varieté, the spectator is part of everything that happens on stage without ever being on stage … the theater becomes a livelier and more touchable place,” said Hülsewig. Another highlight during the show are Nik and Valentina, an acrobatic duo from Berlin.

Nik plays a shady criminal who’s trying to impress Valentina, an elegant lady, by making charming compliments. The couple then performs their partner acrobatics and dance number accompanied by musical interpretations from singer Countess Niessnerova and the pianist Mr. Leu.  

The Russian equilibrist Elena Borodina impresses visitors to the Youkali show with an artistic performance that combines feats of balance with free dance elements.
While performing a one-handed handstand while balancing on a steel pole, Borodina artfully uses her feet to wrap herself into a transparent, white scarf, which makes her movements weightless and mystical. Borodina and the other artists transform their visions and dreams into reality while giving the audience a chance to fantasize.

“To me, the variety theater is one of the most beautiful ways of storytelling, because it fires someone’s imagination, arouses emotions and is always unpredictable,” said Ralph Sun, the artistic director of the Friedrichsbau Varieté in Stuttgart.

During each of the Varieté performances, visitors can order meals from a menu inspired by the current show. The meal must be ordered four days before the performance date. However, visitors can also order finger food and beverages a la carte during the event.

The Friedrichsbau Varieté is located at Friedrichstrasse 24, 70174 Stuttgart. Performances are offered Monday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 6 and 10 p.m., and Sunday at 6 p.m. An Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret tribute show featuring Ray Martin, a well known Elvis Presley impersonator, will run from April 13 to June 9.

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