Le Pustra: The Future of Cabaret in Berlin

You decide to go to a show. The decision has been reached to go to a cabaret. The night is about to fall and the leaves are just beginning to turn. The streets disappear into the dusk; winding tentacles of forgotten longing. Somehow the gloom of the evening swaddles you, comforts you and as you make your way through the fog your mind wanders away from the confusing web of thoughts that is your brain. At the entrance of the show you feel the press of bodies around you. Despite the heat of others you have a chill inside that won’t leave but the red velvet that lines the walls softly folds you in and you relax into that ever-present sadness.

The show begins. On the stage is a creature of such sincerity, such sadness, such purity that the melancholy that dogs the hours, lonely in its constancy, finally has company. Le Pustra is on stage. He is there, shining in his vulnerability. The truth that emanates from his presence and voice; it is piercing but reassuring at the same time. Le Pustra performs cabaret from the heart. The songs unravel like spontaneous results of his experience. Your skin crawls as his emotions pierce your heart. The time flies by; at the end of the show, you realize, you are no longer alone.

On the walk home you are bathed in darkness, the cool air surrounds you with a gentle embrace. That evening you sleep, Le Pustra’s magnetic eyes haunting you while at the same time his glance soothes your broken heart.

Le Pustra has a distinguished resume of performing together with Neil Gamon, strutting the catwalk at London Fashion week, gracing the pages of both the French and Italian Vogues, as well as extensive touring of Europe and the United States and Australia. Hailing from South Africa, he began his journey by studying musical theater. He had a wonderful singing teacher, Miss Brown, at the Waterfront Theatre School, who helped to draw the self-proclaimed wall-flower out of his shell. Upon finding his feet he then headed off to London to begin his career.

As an established international singer, muse, fashion model, and bon-vivant, Le Pustra oozes that kind of sensitivity that only comes with tried and tested professionalism. His describes his character as simple, clean lines, and although dramatic, stays somehow straightforward; from the heart. He does his own makeup, and he attributes this ability to his background as a painter. His favorite part of doing makeup is his lips. “It is so much fun to play with the colors,” he says with a smile.

The show started as Mr. Pustra in 2009, and about a year ago changed to Le Pustra. He had originally started as half of a duo, but when his partner decided to change direction, he decided to continue the character and this was how his solo show was born. He went to Rome, and the Italians loved the character and gave him an opportunity to grow his show even more. His shows incorporate a melancholic theme, pushing the edge of emotional danger. He states he is heavily drawn to Tim Burton and the power and truthfulness of sad music. It is “through music that he feels that he can really touch people.” He also eats fire, plays the musical saw, does short skits, presents a sad Pierrot act accompanied by Maria Callas and balloons; small vignettes.

2015 started out bumpy. He knew he needed a change. “The universe decided it was time to chuck me off a cliff without a life jacket. I ended up here in Berlin, and it is the best thing that has happened to me,” he says. The tradition of Cabaret is close to his heart. His show will be about an hour and a half, and will integrate elements of his life as well as the ups and downs of show-business. It will incorporate piano, possible strings, a selection of French, German and English songs; very simple and visual. He will preserve the fashion aspect, as he loves that. He portrays beauty and honesty.
Le Pustra welcomes his time of self-reinvention and says that at some point he was doing so much, and was absorbing so many different characters, that he had to take a moment to draw a deep breath. He had years of incorporating so many characters into the Le Pustra act, like Marlene Dietrich, Klaus Nomi and more, and it was fun but he needed to find his own identity in the show. He did this by getting in touch with his own vulnerability, which is scary, but with that comes his greatest strength. The audience can feel it, and find in themselves the vulnerability that can be pushed aside in the hectic work day.

Le Pustra’s next appearance on a stage will be for Alternative Fashion Week in Berlin.  It will be running from the 23-27th of September. In the show he will be walking for Ivana Pilja, a fashion designer from Serbia.  Her show will be on the 26th at the Postbahnhof. There is a choreographer who will be working with them for the performance. This is not the first time he has worked with this particular designer; it was with her that he had worked for the London fashion week.

Le Pustra is fascinated by Berlin: its history of Cabaret in the 1920s; the freedom of sexuality. “It is a city that attracts a lot of broken people, but they have so much to offer. It is wonderful. Berlin is experiencing a rebirth of 1920s. It is a place where people can create or reinvent themselves. It is a city that fascinates me.” His show is a start up in Berlin; it will be the latest and greatest version of Le Pustra. As there is not a large Cabaret scene in Berlin anymore, he is hoping to revitalize it as well as create an all-male review.

Photo shoot for Dark Beauty Magazine
Collaboration with Ivana Pilja
Missed Me
I don’t care much

By Sasha Prince
Sasha is a classical singer and animal lover and has been in Berlin since 2014. She is from the US and the place she lived the longest is Austin, Texas.

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