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Culture beat - December 5

16:05 05/12/2014
Live acts: theatre, classical music and Christmas carols, plus films and sale of vintage threads

It’s rare to see a Broadway musical in a francophone theatre, but for its 20th anniversary Le Public collaborates with Théâtre National in staging Cabaret until Sunday December 7. Set in Berlin in the 1930s, the Broadway hit then tours Wallonia: Namur, Liège and Louvain-la-Neuve. It’s a contemporary adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s original story, with Pascal Charpentier directing the orchestra and Thierry Smits the choreography.

From Bohemia to Belgian satire in the seasonal satirical review Sois belge et tais-toi! which opens in the capital (Théâtre Saint-Michel) from December 11 to 21 before returning to the provinces. The 17th edition of the French-language comedy, complete with song and dance, is themed Swedish coalition. From the ‘Ikea route’, to Brussels flight paths, spiralling retirement age and treaasury savings in the ‘ice budget challenge’, Belgian politics and society is, as ever, rich pickings for improv comedy. Written and performed by André and Baudouin Remy, alongside Elsa Erroyaux, Joël Riguelle, Stéphanie Coerten and Philippe Peters.

The annual Mediterranean Cinema festival opens with a premiere screening of the French film Geronimo tonight (December 5) at Le Botanique. Confronting the problem of forced marriages, it’s a tragic tale of opposing gangs in the sultry heat of the south of France. Music by Bernard Orchestar follows. The festival includes nine feature films from various countries including Spain, Turkey and Serbia, plus a focus on Syria and Italy, documentaries, and films for all the family. Until December 12.

If you’re braving the shopping crowds in the city centre this weekend, consider ducking into Halles Saint-Géry for the Brussels Vintage Market. It’ll be packed with vintage clothes, accessories and retro objects by dealers from across the country. Saint Nicolas/Sinterklaas is also scheduled to make an appearance along with his controversial sidekick, Père Fouettard/Zwarte Piet. Other entertainment on the programme is a live seasonal rap show, a gospel choir plus food and mulled wine.

The Irish in Europe Association (International) presents its 2nd International Christmas Concert in Brussels at Saint-Géry Cultural centre on December 13 from 12.30 to 14.30. The programme includes a selection of Belgian, Irish, English, Hungarian, German and American carols on Saturday December 13. Refreshments available at Saint-Géry café. Admission free.

If you like the sound of Sunday afternoon music, head to Beursschouwburg on December 14 for an hour-long performance by the Triolys ensemble with a programme travelling through romanticism, impressionism and contemporary music. The piano, clarinet and flute trio performs works by Guillaume Connesson, Claude Debussy, Michel Lysight, and Ernest Bloch, among others. The concert is introduced by Lysight, a Belgian composer and teacher at the Royal Conservatory.

Outside Brussels

It’s billed as the smallest contemporary art fair in the world, Bozar de l’Abattoir in the Sambreville town of Tamines (Namur province) runs from Friday to Sunday. It shows works by 42 artists, while musicians and DJs provide entertainment. 34 Rue de l’Abattoir, 5060 Tamines; free entrance, information 0494 30 59 83.

Deeper in Wallonia, the town of Bastogne in the Luxembourg province is busy preparing for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Ardennes from December 12 to 14. Better known outside Belgium as the Battle of the Bulge, the strategic victory was the final major battle of the second world war. It was also one of the bloodiest, particularly for the American Army. Immortalised in Steven Spielberg’s TV series Band of Brothers, the battle and siege left an indelible legacy on the town and the US. Commemorative activities include walks around the defensive perimeter of the town, a sound and light show in honour of Texan soldiers at Mardasson memorial, military parades, the laying of wreaths at McAuliffe and Patton monuments, and the throwing of a nut from the balcony of the town hall. When the German Army asked US commander Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe to surrender or be annihilated by massed artillery, his now famous retort, “Nuts!”, stumped the Germans. The first temporary exhibition, From Texas to Bastogne – Texas Aggies Go to War, also opens at the newly-refurbished Bastogne War Museum. 

Written by Sarah Crew