Review Roundup: West End's CABARET
Bill Kenwright presents the multi-award winning production of Cabaret, starring Will Young, Michelle Ryan, Sian Phillips, Matt Rawle and more. Kander and Ebb's landmark musical turns Weimar Berlin of 1931 into a dark and sexually charged haven of decadence, at the heart of which the legendary Sally Bowles performs at the infamous Kit Kat Klub. The production runs at the Savoy Theatre through January 19 2013.
Since its Broadway premiere in 1966 and the famous movie version with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, CABARET has won a staggering number of stage and screen awards including 8 Oscars, 7 BAFTAs and 13 Tonys.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Paul Taylor, Independent: It's Will Young's Emcee who now sings "Tomorrow Belongs To Me", the fascist portent of this anthem chillingly revealed as he switches from a pretence of sweet-voiced youthful purity into a mad, malign puppeteer. Jerked by his strings, a chorus of traditionally dressed rustics becomes a mountingly militaristic, pistol-toting mob who decorate him with a scribbled Hitler moustache at the climax of the first half.
Tim Walker, Telegraph: There have been quite a few Cabarets over the years – in addition, of course, to the film – but this is the most compelling I have ever seen. All too often, it has amounted to little more than a mournful tale about the rise of Nazi Germany with, rather clumsily grafted on, a few big, brassy numbers like The Money Song and Maybe This Time.
Libby Purves, The Times: Javier De Frutos opts instead for a ropy realism - the Kit Kat Club was meant to be a dive, after all - and, despite some startlingly athletic moves it is deliberately slaggy, crotch-y, imprecisely seedy stuff. Which I quite liked, in context. As the hero remarks, "I like this town, it's so terrible and tawdry".
Theo Bosanquet, Whatsonstage: It's a dark, jagged and ultimately harrowing production that brings some welcome shade to a West End overrun with the lightness of 'enforced standing ovation' jukebox fare. The restaging also offers the opportunity for Will Young and Michelle Ryan to make their musical theatre debuts. Young excels as the Emcee, all cheeky grins one minute and forlorn glances the next. His audience repartee could be cranked up a notch, but he sings superbly, the riotously choreographed "Two Ladies" a stand-out.
henry Hitchings, Evening Standard: Rufus Norris's take on Cabaret isn't new. It was staged, to great plaudits, in 2006. Here, with bigger stars, it remains inventive but feels less concertedly political and less depraved. There's more glamour and not so deep a sense of the disturbing.