Margo: Half Woman, Half Beast

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Margo: Half Woman, Half Beast – Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Margo Lion was a singer and cabaret performer in Weimar Berlin, who loved Marlene Dietrich and Marcellus Schiffer, her partner whose songs she sang. Cabaret was the symbol of the era, dark but liberated performance in a city sliding unstoppably into fascism. As the Nazis took power, Margo took refuge in booze and cocaine, but her song offered up a continuing resistance.

A little known figure, her story is expertly performed by singer Melinda Hughes, as a cabaret show. From the relative safety of her apartment, Margo observes unrest on the streets and sings the songs that once made her famous. Margo is essentially a cabaret show,  and the story is a vehicle for Hughes’ dark-hued voice, accompanied by pianist Michael Roulston. Songs include new material alongside songs of the time, by Schiffer and Kurt Weill. It is a classy, if polite, evening that deservedly revives the story of a woman whose appeal to be “Sincere and queer in Berlin” is, sadly, more suited to the 21st century than the notorious era when she was in her prime.

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