Berliners didn’t invent the cabaret, but they nailed it. The Dadaists didn’t invent photomontage, they just made it cool. Bana Banana wasn’t the first person to spot the similarity between a banana and a penis, but boy she breathes new life into a timeless gag.
The fifth round of Bananas Dada Club, last 19th April, was a riotous throwback to Weimar-era art; a mad montage of the most hilarious and bedazzling performers from all over the globe; all hosted by the extraordinary Bana Banana.
Where to start? That’s the idea with a Dada montage: there’s too much to take in at once, and it doesn’t quite make sense like you expect it to. So before I attempt the full tour of Thursday’s emporium of the spectacular…
…let’s begin with Bana
Bana Banana is the brains behind the brilliance, the muscles behind the magic. She has a nose for shows, a heart for art, but it doesn’t end when the curtain comes down. Bana Banana wants her performance to have importance.
She’s a witty and wise host the whole way through, alongside the infectiously cheeky conferencier Martini Cherry. But there’s a really special moment after the interval. Clad in a newspaper dress and an eerie white mask, Bana floats through the crowd and steps on stage.
Read more: indieBerlin’s Dada for Dummies
The climax of the act is an impassioned speech about the migrant crisis, frustrated and furious about the West’s inaction. She begins masked and emotionless, she ends up topless and tearful: a shining symbol of the power of unclothing, a beacon for burlesque.
A montage of burlesque madness
And the rest? If you can still concentrate after seeing Martini Cherry’s neverending legs or hearing her seductive murmur, it’s quite a show.
Some people pull crowds with hilarity alone, some with extraordinary feats of the body. Sara el Turbo has got both at the same time. The things she does could turn a glass of milk, let alone our heads. Misty Lotus also has a lot of flaming arrows to her bow: she makes you feel the heat long before she starts her fire-eating routine.
Then there’s Russell Bruner somersaulting out of his bloomers into a two-step. A born entertainer from the USA, but he didn’t get here by plane: he came by time machine. Miss Popalina and her Severin servant are bizarre and bewildering as they play a dog-show-cum-undressing routine. And Viva Lamore was downright outrageous – we can keep that those secrets under a black cloth.
Special mention to Stage Kitten Louise the Breeze, kept things ticking with a Cheshire smile; DJ Pyromaniac for firing up the decks; Feedi Fugazzi for her elegant stage-handing; a beautiful exhibition of burlesque behind-the-scenes by Zora Junenkova; and Rosie Riot for her witty whistlestop tour of the Dada dictionary.
Get ready for the next episode
Whether you’re a Dada addict or a Dada virgin, the next episode of Bananas Dada is not to be missed, on the 31st May. Stay tuned into the Club facebook page for updates.
Thanks to Bassy Club for hosting the evening and helping to celebrate the 100th birthday of Dada!
All photos and text by Jem Bosatta.