After a hugely successful sell-out run, The Butterfly Club has extended its season of Marelene Dietrich : Perfect Illusion. Supported by the Goethe Institut, award-winning German actor and cabaret performer Uschi Felix will bring Dietrich’s life and story to the stage, as she prepares for her last performance at age 74.
Much has been said about her. A lot of it is inaccurate or contradictory, even in respectable biographies. Marlene Dietrich: Perfect Illusion aims to separate the real person from the image created by Hollywood and Dietrich herself (“I like the legend”).
Uschi Felix has spent several years researching Dietrich. “I thought I knew a lot about her when I began, but what I found was astonishing: a fascinating story that deserved a greater audience.” Dietrich was highly educated, fiercely independent, and with great chutzpah pitted herself against the Hollywood patriarchy. She defied her Nazi admirers, not only by refusing to return to the Fatherland but by spending her entire fortune on getting Jews out of Germany (she was later awarded the Israel Medallion of Valour). Discipline and duty, instilled by her strict German upbringing, remained paramount throughout her seemingly bohemian life.
Here the authentic Dietrich, aged 74, prepares for her last concert. Juxtaposed with her celluloid image, she reveals herself in her own words and in snippets from her famous songs, taking us on a self-deprecating journey through her life. What emerges is a woman of substance who, despite her prickly persona, is vulnerable, affectionate, and above all likeable.
Written and performed by Uschi Felix
Directed by Sara Grenfell
Supported by the Goethe Institut
Extension runs from March 2 – 5 at 8.30pm