Churchill Theatre – until 31 August 2019
Review by Elizabeth J Smith
How can you take a 1972 film directed by the infamous Bob Fosse whose moves are iconic and legendary, bring it bang up to date and leave your own mark? That was a question I was asking myself on the way to the Churchill Theatre last night. Cabaret has always been a favourite of mine and in the past when seeing other shows that have been revived I have always left feeling a little let down, they didn’t quite equal the original and in some cases missed the spot completely – but not here. What a triumph. There is so much right with this production I’m not sure where to begin.
Let’s start by congratulating the production team.
Directed by Rufus Norris, who had every character from the lead’s to the dancers, and even members of the orchestra, living their roles.
Designed by Katrina Lindsay, who created a darkness to each scene that portrayed the troubled times the story is set in, with the final scene evoking huge emotion from the audience, myself included.
Choreographed by Javier De Frutos, who, lets face it had huge shoes to fill, did a magnificent job. The dancing was “Fosse” esque, but totally unique. Portraying the seediness of the night club to the interpretation of the political environment of the time. Very unsettling.
Lighting and sound design added another level of seediness and despair. With the musical direction captivating the emotion of each piece.
John Partridge, Emcee, was delightfully creepy and slightly grotesque. Someone you wouldn’t usually feel empathy with but in the final scene you do. His puppetry for Tomorrow Belongs To Me expresses deeper meaning when you think of the Nazi rise in the 1930’s.
Kara Lily Hayworth, Sally Bowles, brings an air of childlike innocence that real life can’t catch her but it does. When she sings Cabaret it no longer resembles the uplifting nightclub staple of today but the true despairing song it was always meant to be.
Anita Harris, Fraulin Schneider, brings grace and maturity and a story of love with an unhappy ending.
Charles Hagerty, Cliff Bradshaw, portrays an innocent abroad discovering the world has a tantalising underbelly of pleasures and learns too except his true self in a back ground of prejudice and violence.
James Patterson, Herr Schultz, shows the tenderness of age and the optimism that many Jewish Germans felt at the time.
Nick Tizzard, Ernst Ludwig, is everyones best friend until his Nazi association dictates who he can and can’t be friends with.
So put “down your knitting, the book and the broom” and rush to the Churchill to see this awesome production of sex, violence, love, friendship, sadness, prejudice that prove life is a Cabaret.