Wilma’s Rating [rating=5]
The West End wouldn’t be complete with a Kander and Ebb show and since the sad closure of Chicago I have been desperately missing the razzle dazzle in town. Cabaret has all the winning ingredients needed in a show and is the kind of thing (like Chicago) where I could have stayed in my seat and happily watched the whole show again and again!
Cabaret was first performed on Broadway in 1966 and then made into a feature film starring Liza Minelli in 1972. Set in 1931, it tells the story of an English cabaret singer Sally Bowles and her relationship with writer Cliff Bradshaw. It is also a story of when the Nazis came into power and how Jews were outcast. The songs in the show have you tapping along with them (Willkommen, Maybe This Time and of course Cabaret) meaning there isn’t a dull moment in the show.
Will Young plays the disturbing Emcee very well. His overly camp performance is hilarious and you forget he is a well-known singer and believe he has been treading the Theatre boards for years.
This star-studded cast all give outstanding performances, each in tune with the character they are playing. Sian Phillips (star of stage and screen) plays the haggered landlady Fraulein Schneider wonderfully and Matt Rawle is a dashing Clifford Bradshaw. It is always a pleasure to see Harriet Thorpe in any production. She has played so many wonderful roles both on stage and TV (most memorably for The Brittas Empire and Ab Fab as well as the wonderful Madam Morrible in Wicked).
The stand out performance comes from Michelle Ryan (Eastenders), who was so good, I must admit I thought she was miming the first song. Her performance of Sally Bowles is Catherine Zita-Jones esq and shows she has so much talent (beyond a soap opera).
I loved this show as much as Fraulein Schneider loved her Pineapple! It certainly shouldn’t leave the West End in January 2013, as is currently planned. This show needs to stay around for at least as long as Chicago did (and with such a talented cast, I see no reason why it won’t).
Book now to see this show, I know I’ll be going again and again (and maybe again)!