One should be able to play the piano. Those who play piano, can make it big time in the theatre. Like Matthias Flake. In Roberto Ciulli’s take on "Dreigroschenoper", Flake is no grey orchestral musician. The way he is sitting at the front of the stage reminds one rather of a bar pianist: with a posture that suggests he is always ready, he delivers the necessary touch to evoke exactly those emotions that are desired at any particular moment. With the touch of every key a yearning is fulfilled. Yet in a subtle and almost casual manner he utters "You shall receive, that which you expect to receive. Though actually it is me, that will make you dance."
(Bettina Sonnenschein on DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER, Theater an der Ruhr, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27. Juni 2001)
As a whole: a trip. Flake has - as it should be - arranged and adapted the music material to the ensemble. The cleverly cast orchestra consisting of violin, vibraphone, electric guitar and a rhythmic section playfully and originally make their way through the Strauß music, and allow us to discover its small details and melodies anew. The music is shortened, revised, and fits perfectly to the specificities of a scene, or character, in a way that no "Fledermaus" has managed to do in a long time. Karin Neuhäuser follows Flake's lead and adds greatly to his musical punchlines with humour and chaos.
(Michael Laages on DIE FLEDERMAUS, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Nachtkritik, 25. Oktober 2008)
Clowns 2 1/2 is a piece for eight clowns plus two: composer Matthias Flake, on stage behind the grand piano, and Gigante Buono, Rupert J. Seidl, playing the strict carer. The piece consists of independent scenes, each of them orchestrated for different ensembles: duos, trios, solos with orchestra as well as symphonic concerts. The eight characters on stage each have their own short solo scene, and are treated as main or accompanying parts, some acting as accentuations, doubling effects or merely executing small actions. I consciously use music as metaphor here because music is so much at the core of the piece, that the absence of it feels constricting. Music: the peacekeeping power of the cosmos; remedy for the misery of everyday life; a sanctuary that has something for everyone, even if it is just the sound of a triangle. Desacralizing, joyful defeat of the absurdity of life; that is the music of clowns.
(Carlo Lei, Krapp's Last Post, 5. 7. 2018, translation: Ottoline Calmeijer Meijburg)
Of course, the focus is on the music of Tom Waits, which rocks, creaks, cracks and rumbles, mixes delicate ballads and big show numbers. Matthias Flake conjures up fabulous things with his combo from the orchestra pit. And the Ingolstadt ensemble - you can't get tired of emphasizing this - sings amazingly beautiful, wild, heartbreaking.
(Anja Witzke on THE BLACK RIDER, Donaukurier, 29. 9. 2019)
In the center of the stage there is a square area of water. The skeleton of a boat in it. Four actresses and four actors enter the stage in yellow aprons over blue shirts and with bizarre wigs. Freaky nurses, individualization-savvy angels? They stand there and hand over us and themselves to the silence. They release themselves from this with a collage of sounds, a score of vocal noises. Maybe we hear the sea or a brief, harsh, wordless history of civilization. Again and again they bend down and find something in the water: clothes, a wallet, a cell phone. They collect them on dissection tables. And they speak texts of survivors and themselves, poetically and highly excited, but without pathos. And meet several times for choral singing, developed and grandly rehearsed by Matthias Flake.
(Andreas Falentin on BOAT MEMORY / DAS ZEUGNIS, Die Deutsche Bühne, 16.12.2019)