I love a good show. I love bright, colourful, beautiful things. Light shows and acrobatics absolutely make my day. So when I was invited to view the Vivid Grand Show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Theatre in Berlin I could hardly wait.
A City Break & a Show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin
When people think of a theatre break they normally think of London, maybe even Vienna. However, Berlin is a wonderful, vibrant city and perfect for a theatre break.
Flights from London and Dublin are regular and short (around 2 hours). Transport from the airport to the city centre is easy. There’s no shortage of hotels, restaurants and things to do in Berlin and the Palast theatre puts on some of the best shows in the world.
All of the above makes it perfect for a quick trip and a show. Here’s what I got up to on my Berlin theatre break.
About the Palast Theatre
The Friedrichstadt-Palast theatre is home to the biggest theatre stage in the WORLD. Yep, the whole wide world. The theatre in its current form opened in 1984 but it originally dates back to 1919.
The Palast is the number one theatre in Germany, and it takes great pride in its review shows (they’re not musicals!). The theatre director, Berndt Schmidt, has strong beliefs about equality and freedom of expression. This can clearly be seen in VIVID Grand Show.
The theatre has 1895 seats (including 4 wheelchair seats) and 6 luxurious leather seats with a private bar. The 6 private seats are in the Wall Sky Lounge, which is the ultimate luxury theatre experience.
The Wall Sky Lounge seats costs around €220 and include a glass of champagne, free drinks, snacks and a programme. There’s even a discreet side entrance for when celebrities visit.
Speaking of celebrities the Palast has had plenty visit. Of course, lots of them are German celebrities, but there are also a few you might recognise such as Conchita Wurst and Miss Kitty (Lady Di’s niece).
The theatre has a great tradition of working with fashion superstars such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian LaCroix and Thierry Mugler to create visually stunning reviews and demand public attention. The VIVID Grand Show is no exception.
VIVID Grand Show
The main event at the Palast theatre at the moment is VIVID Grand Show. After watching a few videos online I could see why people compare it to Cirque de Soleil. The costumes are bold, the acrobatics are mind-boggling and the sets are next level.
However, the videos did not prepare me for seeing it in person. Everything was brighter, more colourful and more bizarre than I expected. The show cost around €12 million to produce and honestly, it shows.
Philip Treacy is the design director of the show and the world’s most famous milliner. So, unsurprisingly, the head pieces and headdresses in VIVID are some of the most spectacular and unique on the planet.
One of my favourite tidbits of information about VIVID is that it was written and directed by Krista Monson. This is the first time a woman has ever taken on this role in a Grand Show at the Palast. EXCITING! She used to work on Cirque du Soleil’s Vegas show “O” so she certainly knows what she’s doing.
The VIVID Grand Show is performed in three different languages (German, English and what I thought was Arabic but I’m not 100% sure). However, you do not need to understand the languages to enjoy the show. The message is loud and clear – a declaration of love for life and the beautiful world we live in.
Story-wise the show centres around R’eye, a young android, who breaks out of her controlled life and sets out to find herself and see the world along the way.
The show has comedy, musical numbers, outrageous sets, wild acrobatics, audience participation and the most spellbinding costumes I’ve ever seen. Some of the comedy moments are a bit and people might find them cheesey, but still enjoyable.
There are frog people flying around on sticks above the stages, the MC wears platform heels along with some impressive make up and the android queen gives off some VERY Tina Turner Thunder Dome vibes. It’s all a giant slice of glorious chaos really.
Part of me wished it had gone slightly more over the top with the gender fluidity and general craziness but I still absolutely loved the show. It was a complete treat for the eyes and the soul. I highly recommend a trip to Berlin to see it for yourself.
VIVID Grand Show runs 5 to 8 times per week depending on the time of year. Tickets cost between €20-€250 depending on the seats you choose.
If you have a Berlin Pass (more about that later) you can get a discount on tickets. VIVID will be running until ~ July 2020.
You can buy tickets to VIVID Grand Show – HERE
Other Things to See and Do in Berlin
Of course, you won’t be at the theatre the whole time, so what else is there to do in Berlin? Well, plenty! Berlin is a very big city full of all sorts of things to do and see. Here are some of my favourites;
- Street Art Walking Tour. Berlin is a hugely creative city and the street art is next level. Of course, you can wander around yourself, mural-hunting in places like the East Side Gallery and Urban Spree. But a walking tour gives you lots of info about the artists and makes sure you find the best murals. Book your tour HERE.
- Markets. There’s nothing like a lazy stroll through a market in a new city. Berlin has plenty of options – the art market by the Zeughaus, Mauerpark Fleamarket and more.
- City Walking Tour. Berlin is so full of history and the best way to take it all in is a walking tour. See the remains of the Berlin Wall and hear the terrifying stories that go along with it.
- City River Cruise. If you prefer to sit back and watch the landmarks pass by while you listen to the history of the city then you might prefer to see the city by boat.
- Hop on Hop Off Bus. If you’re not sure what you want to see and are tight for time then a hop on hop off bus is perfect. You get great views of the city and it fits to your schedule. Book your tickets HERE.
- Berlin TV Tower. Head up this iconic Berlin landmark for a stunning 360 view of the city. Skip the queue and get a guaranteed window seat at the restaurant HERE.
- Check out the Museums. Berlin has no shortage of museums. There’s the Spy Museum, the Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum (skip the queue HERE), the DDR Museum and more. There’s even a whole island full of museums!
- AquaDom and Sealife Berlin. I love an aquarium, there’s something magical about them. This is a great attraction to visit if you’re travelling with children, especially if you’re trying to escape the sun.
To see a full list of things to do in Berlin
and to book tickets CLICK HERE.
Obviously there are plenty more things to do in Berlin but you can’t fit them all into a little weekend theatre break. A lot of the above are included in the Berlin Pass and discounts for some of the above are included in the Berlin Welcome Card.
How to Get to Berlin
I flew from Dublin to Berlin Schönefeld airport with Ryanair. From there, I took the train directly into the city centre. It was quick, cheap and easy. How many stops will depend on where you’re staying but Google maps gave clear and easy instructions.
You can also fly into Berlin Tegel airport, this is the main airport of Berlin. It also has easy access to the city centre via public transport. Many of the bigger airlines like Aer Lingus and British Airways use this airport.
The flight time from Dublin and the UK is around ~2 hrs or less.
Getting Around Berlin (Berlin Pass and Berlin Welcome Card)
Getting around Berlin is easy. The best way is to buy a Berlin Pass with travel or to buy a Berlin Welcome Card. I opted for the Welcome Card.
Having this Berlin Pass with Travel entitles you to unlimited travel on all public transport networks in Berlin city centre (zones ABC).
Just stamp the transport card at the station to activate it and then it’s valid for 3 days. The adult Berlin Pass with travel costs €123 – €148.
With the Berlin Welcome Card you can choose whether you would like zones AB which includes Tegel airport, or zones ABC which includes Schonefeld. You can also choose the duration of you pass from 2-6 days.
The Berlin Welcome Card is purely about the travel pass but does also include plenty of attraction discounts as well as a city map and guide. Prices start from €20.
As for using the transport links, I google mapped which ones I needed to use while I was there. They tend to have automatic ticket machines near the platforms and in the stations if you don’t opt for one of the travel passes and do need to buy yourself a ticket.
There’s the Metro (U-Bahn), the overground (S-Bahn), the buses and the trams, so you should be able to reach any destination via public transport. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn run 24hrs on the weekend and run from 4am to 1am on weekdays.
You can find all the info you need about
public transport links in Berlin – HERE
Where to Stay in Berlin
Like any capital city, Berlin has a sea of accommodation options for all budgets and tastes.
During my time in the city I stayed at Arcotel Velvet. The location was very handy, just around the corner from the Palast Theatre. The rooms were nice and comfortable and the breakfast was decent.
I do love a chain hotel and Motel One is one of my favourites. They’re reasonable, modern and design-led. They have several locations across the city so no matter where you want to be in Berlin there is likely to be a Motel One for you
For a full list of Berlin hotels CLICK HERE.
I loved my little Berlin city break and would absolutely love to go back. It was a nice change to go to a different city for a theatre break. The show was wonderful and there are so many amazing things to do in Berlin.
I highly recommend Berlin as the perfect city break destination, whether you’re interested in the theatre or not!
DISCLAIMER – I was hosted on this trip by the Palast Theatre in Berlin. However, all opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own and this post was not paid for.
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