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Photo: Søren Malmose


Johan Olsen is a scoop as the gripping incarnation of raging human desperation in Østre Gasværk’s fabulous concert theater production of Pink Floyd’s iconic masterpiece The Wall, which rockets straight to the top and scores the rare six stars at Got To See This.

Carried by a killer rock band and the Gasworks’ formidable TheatreMax® stage technology, we witness the story of Pink, a kind of imaginative, non-linear autobiography by the work’s creator, Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, who unravels his traumatic childhood in a series of spectacular scenes, surrounded by inner demons, magically present in dance and aerial acrobatics.

The iconic The Wall album was released in 1979 and has sold over 30 million copies, and the story has been adapted into animated films, opera and, of course, a plethora of staged concert performances. 

The Berlin concert after the fall of the Wall in ’89 was a stage show of unprecedented dimensions with around half a million spectators and stands as a milestone in rock history. 

As we all know, The Wall doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Berlin Wall, but is an abstraction of the ‘wall’ the protagonist must build around his tortured mind to endure life. 

Some have called the story weepy to the point of whining, but when you have the work’s unconditional top number Comfortably Numb thrown right into the mask of a band as competent as Gasværket has hired for the task, you have to surrender to the pain. 

That song and that guitar solo, which according to my companion (a man of unquestionable rock history competence) was virtually 1:1 with David Gilmour’s classic Fender Stratocaster solo in the original version, makes Gasworks’ dome lift. 

Symphonic rock in a theatrical realization like this triggers a visual/musical satori that you won’t soon forget. In case you didn’t know, satori is a Japanese/Buddhist term for a kind of particularly insightful, inexplicable clairvoyance. Yes, I like to get carried away when art and culture make an impression. 

Others will have the boarding school basher ‘We Don’t Need No Education’ as their favorite of the evening, also this song strongly staged with an astonishing array of advanced stage technique that takes the audience’s breath away. 

Bandleader Søren Graversen whips up his excellent band, so it’s pure rock joy. Can I say it any clearer? 

The finale, The Trial, brings it all together with exuberant, cabaret-style live action and a deeply original soundtrack combined with impressive lighting and videography. Line Bech’s formidable costumes hint at a surreal association of Carol Lewis and Alice in Wonderland. Awesome! 

The Wall is high class gesamtkunst and Wagner would have loved it! 

Pink Floyd subsequently fell out, and a years-long battle for rights has been raging between the parties ever since. 

This theater version is said to be the world’s first of its kind, it is produced by agreement with Roger Waters and is not called The Wall but Another Brick In The Wall Part 5. 

They’ll have to deal with that themselves, as long as the rest of us can experience this sublime performance, with a generous supply of spectacular theater magic and awesome music in a top-notch staging by Heinrich Christensen and a strong creative/technical team.

Johan Olsen shares the role of Pink with theater rock veteran Jimmy Jørgensen, who I’m sure will deliver a performance at a similar top level.