Life is once again a cabaret as Rufus Norris’ 2012 West End production is revived for a new UK tour. Cabaret is a musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Sherwood. It is set around the Kit Kat Cabaret Club in Berlin in the 1930s and follows the club’s star Sally Bowles. This No.1 UK tour production directed by Rufus Norris perfectly captures the contrast of the extravagant Berlin nightlife and the sinister rising of the Nazis to power. It’s a slick production full of
grit and glamour.
Will Young reprises his Olivier nominated role as the Emcee. He is charismatic, eccentric and delivers flawless vocals. He provides two real highlights of the show, the first being the comical number ‘Two Ladies’ which contains some brilliant physical comedy and secondly the devastatingly dark ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’.
Taking on the iconic lead role of Sally Bowles was Louise Redknapp who unfortunately lacked the bold, dynamic spark necessary for the role. Disappointingly her performance did not match the standard of the rest of the cast. Charles Hagerty delivers a strong, confident and likeable performance as Clifford Bradshaw. Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz are a wonderful pairing and their final scene is absolutely heartbreaking. However, in this exhilarating production the ensemble are the true stars of the show. Their individuality and fearlessness as performers creates an electric atmosphere which is incredibly exciting to watch.
The choreography by Javier De Frutas is sinister, intoxicating and at times shocking. De Frutas makes bold choices which reflect the political issues of the time. Kander and Ebb’s 1966 score is timeless, still proving to be incredibly bold and moving. Combined with Tim Whiting’s great musical direction and his brilliant band the instrumentals are really quite a treat for the ears.
Designer Katrina Lindsay has created a gritty world of fantasy that you can’t help but be drawn in to.
There were a few slip ups from the principal cast but that may have been down to press night nerves. It is a shame that a tour of this standard felt the need to cast a celebrity name as it’s leading lady as her theatrical inexperience was evident throughout the show.
The last 15 minutes of the production are sinister and uncomfortable to watch but brilliantly executed and worth the ticket price alone.The ability to contrast something so spectacular with something completely uncomfortable is what is brilliant about this show. These moments are what make it a great piece of theatre. The production is not without it’s faults but it is definitely worth catching while it is touring the UK.
Cabaret is playing at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 30th September, to buy tickets visit New Wimbledon Theatre.
The tour continues until the 9th of December 2017.