Toll im Quadrat – not ‘just’ a Flamenco Revue

The yodelling flamingo“Toll im Quadrat” – roughly translated it can mean either “great in a square” or “great squared” – was a show at the Klinik Hohe Mark in Oberursel last Friday.

Advertised as being “not just a Flamenco Revue”, it was a mixture of dance, songs and one might even say sketches performed by local graphic designer and dancer Nathalie Karg with John “Lobito” Opheim on the guitar and singer and percussionist Manuel Lojo “Ardillita” in front of an audience of 140 people.

Much of the music had a Spanish feel to it, even to the extent of “My Way” sung in Spanish, with more serious tones such as the homage to Salvador Dalí but mixed with light-hearted elements and in some cases performed against daring backdrops, such as a large photo of a cucumber.

Spanish and the cucumber

Would you perform in Spanish in front of a giant cucumber?

After the interval, the audience were treated to an explanation of the flamenco style, accompanied by a yodelling flamingo, and given a chance to try out the rhythms for themselves in a “clapping flamenco”.

And whilst comments were often forthcoming from Messrs Statler and Waldorf, it was left to two other puppets – Manni and Deppi – to explain the more serious side to the proceedings.

Manni and Deppi

Manni and Deppi

Manni and Deppi represented the two extremes of bipolar disorder,  a condition that Nathalie was diagnosed with 17 years ago.  Manni represented the “manic episode” and Deppi the “depressive episode”, taking it in turns to visit their host.  They reminded us of the serious side to the evening, that sufferers of the disorder are treated at the clinic.

The evening coincided with the start of Nathalie’s art exhibition by the same name, “Toll im Quadrat”, in the corridors of the clinic, in which she uses art to express “surviving bipolar disorder from A to Z”.

Pure flamenco!

Pure flamenco!

In the exhibition, which is open until the end of November, she asks the question “who am I?” and looks at how her life with the disorder and its treatment progressed using works of art including sketches that she made at different stages.

The topics of the pictures are explained further in the accompanying book, which also offers a more detailed and personal account of how the author’s disorder developed, was diagnosed, and treated.

But what the visitors to the exhibition and readers of the book will be missing is the humour and the energy that only the audience at the opening were privileged to see.

Toll im Quadrat - the book
The book “Toll im Quadrat” is can be ordered online at


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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