The premier production of Cabaret opened on Broadway in 1966 with a US Tour and a West End production opening in 1968. The iconic film starring Liza Minnelli was released in 1972 after the success of the musical. After three West End revivals and two Broadway revivals the show returns to London, playing at the Savoy Theatre after a short UK tour. The musical is based on the play ‘I am a Camera’ which was adapted from the novel ‘Goodbye to Berlin’.
The story focuses on nightlife at the Kit Kat Club in World War II Germany following the relationship between English Cabaret performer Sally Bowles and American writer Cliff Bradshaw. This recent revival reunites the creative team from the 2006 London revival at the Lyric Theatre, however they’ve re-imagined the show and given it a new life but stuck to the original idea that they put together for their last production. Rufus Norris really understand this production and what he wants to give to the audience, he’s presented an intelligent but entertaining piece which presents the story in a way in which the audience are completely engaged and the links he has created between the Kit Kat Club and 1931 Germany is astonishing.
The same can be said for Javier De Frutos who has no fear with the choreography. Katrina Lindsay has done a really interesting job with the design, capturing the essence of the show amazingly but also creating a design which is almost Chicago esque in a way with its simplicity but each location was clearly shown and there wasn’t any fuss with it.
This production is beautiful, the story has been portrayed in a remarkable way and I was so impressed. I was actually expecting to not like the show at all but I left thinking it was one of the best things I have ever seen. The touching and shocking reflection of Nazi Germany in the production was astoundingly done and I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage, especially the ending. The final scene was one of the best scenes I have ever seen. This production stars Pop Idol winner Will Young, I wasn’t overly excited by this casting but then I was quite interested in seeing him. If you know the show you will know that Emcee opens it, while he was singing this all I could see was Will Young which bugged me because I thought it was just going to be another typical celebrity casting but as the show went on I saw that Wills interpretation of Emcee was fantastic and definitely award worthy. My respect for him as a performer grew so much after I saw him in this. If you see the show just for him then your trip will be well worth it. Michelle Ryan who most people who from Eastenders played Sally Bowles. Before hand I had heard some awful things about her but I thought she was good. Not the most amazing signer in the world and I thought a few of her acting choices should have been different but overall she was watchable, especially with someone like Will Young who portrayed such a strong character I think it would have been overwhelming to have had her to be any stornger.
Matt Rawle played Clifford Bradshaw and he was fantastic, he added so much to the story and was a brilliant leading man and along with Will Young, carried the show. Sian Phillips as Fräulein Schneider was ok, I didn’t feel anything towards her character and I kind of shut off every time she came on stage because I wasn’t interested, same for Linal Haft who played Herr Schultz. I’m not saying anything bad about them as performers but I just felt bored when ever their characters came on, nothing against them. Harriet Thorpe, as pointless as her character was, was good in the show. I’ve seen her in a few things and she’s a very talented actress so to see her play a role which seemed to have no reason to be there was disappointing. The show had a small ensemble but a very strong one at that. All of them were assets to the story and played it so well, I was very impressed. One of the best ensembles I think I’ve ever seen.
This show is brilliantly done, an interpretation which should definitely play for years but it’s only on until the 19th January so get down to the Savoy! It’s a beautiful and touching piece of theatre; everyone should get to experience this piece of art. Theatre at its best.
Cabaret plays at the Savoy Theatre until the 19th January
Cast Includes: Will Young, Michelle Ryan, Sian Phillips, Harriet Thorpe, Matt Rawle Linal Haft, Nicholas Tizzard, John Brannoch, Jessica Ellen, Allessia Lugoboni, Edd Mitton, Ian Parsons, Nuno Silva,,Rebecca Sutherland, Shahla Tarrant, Laura Tyrer, Cydney Uffindell-Phillips and Matthew Wesley