Das Fest by Phillipp Oberlohr
The Vaults (Short walk from Waterloo Stations) to 4 March
1 hour, no interval
Veronica Stein, March 2nd, 2018
Illusions and a charismatic illusionist
Phillipp Oberlohr is billed as ‘Vienna’s Master Illusionist’. In his return to the Waterloo Vaults, he seeks to provide a mind-reading experience like no other, an experience wherein our collective pasts and futures can meet in one room. It’s a lofty suggestion, and in some ways, Oberlohr delivers.
He brings his charismatic self (as well as an iteration of Sigmund Freud) along for the ride, along with his illusionism. What Das Fest boils down to is the members of the audience writing down a memory or a dream, slipping it into an envelope, and Oberlohr then guessing the contents of the envelopes.
Oberlohr is actually quite remarkable at this element of the program, he eventually gets to the core of all of the envelopes he selects. The problem is this never seems to escalate, and carries on for too long to be continually surprising.
Interweaved are musings about life and how we choose to live it, along with his ad-libbed interactions with the audience. These gems are sometimes atmospheric and often funny, made just a bit mysterious by Oberlohr’s Austrian accent and twinkly eyes. Oberlohr himself is warm and captivating, and seems to be stifled by the format of it all and loses momentum. Das Fest’s mindreading is very impressive, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere- and it definitely wants to.
Co-Author & Dramaturg: Daniel Haingartner
Director & Dramaturg: Margot Newkirk Grambow
Creative Producer: Cristina Catalina