Review Roundup: CABARET Opens in the West End - See What the Critics Are Saying!

Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley star in this new London production

By: Dec. 13, 2021

The revival of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret, directed by Rebecca Frecknall, opened last night at the Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre in London's West End. It stars Eddie Redmayne as the Emcee, Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles and Omari Douglas as Clifford Bradshaw. Read the reviews below!

CABARET also stars Liza Sadovy as Fraulein Schneider, Elliot Levey as Herr Schultz, Stewart Clarke as Ernst Ludwig and Anna-Jane Casey as Fraulein Kost. The cast is completed by Josh Andrews, Emily Benjamin, Sally Frith, Matthew Gent, Emma Louise Jones, Ela Lisondra, Theo Maddix, Chris O'Mara, Daniel Perry, Andre Refig, Christopher Tendai, Bethany Terry, Lillie-Pearl Wildman and Sophie Maria Wojna.

One of the most successful musicals of all time, Cabaret features the songs Wilkommen, Don't Tell Mama, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, Money and the title number. It has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood.

CABARET is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, set and costume design is by Tom Scutt, with choreography by Julia Cheng. Musical supervision and direction is by Jennifer Whyte, lighting design is by Isabella Byrd, with sound design by Nick Lidster. It is produced by ATG Productions and Underbelly.

Marianka Swain, BroadwayWorld: Eddie Redmayne puts a fascinating new spin on the Emcee: less sexually aggressive, more a giddy, shape-shifting imp with elements of the broken doll or Charlie Chaplin clown about him. He twists his body into strange positions, delivers his comic patter with gentle self-mockery, delights in his scantily clad company, or, dressed in a Pierrot costume and tiny party hat, suddenly seems impossibly vulnerable. His "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" is both sonorously beautiful and spine-chilling.

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out: [Jessie Buckley's] Sally is some of the usual things: posh, inscrutable, maddeningly oblivious to the rise of Nazism. But she's no ingenue or sex kitten: she's a roaring force of nature, a proper rock star, vamping about in a faux green fur coat, absolutely not giving a stuff what anybody thinks about her.

Dominic Cavendish, Telegraph: Frecknall will make her name with her thrilling and thorough interpretation as surely as Sam Mendes did with his Donmar revival in 1993. Like him, she creates an immersive evocation of the Kit Kat Club, the early-1930s Berlin dive in which much of the action is set. She supercharges the ambience, though. The whole Playhouse has become a louche playground.

Arifa Akbar, Guardian: Tom Scutt's stage design is expressionistic and imaginative: a train journey is represented by a model train revolving around the outer part of the three-tiered, circular stage. "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" has miniature model men standing to attention on the revolve, replaced by real men in its reprise, which is infused with ominous, stomping movements and a martial drum beat, prefiguring the terror to come.

Nick Curtis, Evening Standard: Eddie Redmayne's Emcee is a brilliantly twisted creation, part tribute to Joel Grey's original performance on Broadway and in Bob Fosse's 1972 film adaptation, part George Grosz grotesque, part baby crocodile. The louche, gender-fluid ensemble, writhing in variations of lingerie and lederhosen to Julia Cheng's sinewy choreography.

Clive Davis, The Times:'s the embattled landlady, Fraülein Schneider, who adds ballast. Liza Sadovy's doomed romance with Elliot Levey's Jewish lodger, Herr Schultz, comes close to eclipsing Sally and Cliff. The moment when Redmayne smashes a glass in the middle of the ageing couple's tête-à-tête is genuinely chilling

Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage: There's something already disappointed about Buckley's Sally when we first meet her; her voice breaks as she wishes Omari Douglas's dazzled Cliff "Happy New Year". She shows her showbiz brilliance in "Mein Heir", but once she is sacked from the Kit Kat, she conveys Sally's journey from brittle belief to disenchanted clinging-on through her interpretation of the songs. Her final "Cabaret" changes the song from a show-stopper to one that freezes the blood.

Fiona Mountford, The i Paper: ...this is a Cabaret that has been stripped back and cleansed of the reassuring layers of jollity that it often wears. Sex might be everywhere, but no one is enjoying it. Director Rebecca Frecknall, who made her name with a transformative production of Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke, leaves us in no doubt that this is the no-holds-barred end of the Weimar Republic, which is hurtling towards the bleakest of finales.

Alexandra Pollard, Independent: The musical, first performed in 1966, was designed to shock, and though our threshold for that rises year by year, Frecknall still manages it - not least when a member of the troupe (Bethany Terry) starts masturbating to Mein Kampf.

Demetrios Matheou, Hollywood Reporter: While Rebecca Frecknall's offering bears a certain kinship to the Mendes/Marshall model - in its manifestation of the Kit Kat Klub offstage as well as on, its lusty, comic vitality and a larger-than-life Emcee - it confidently charts its own course. Transforming one of the West End's smaller theaters into an intoxicatingly immersive space, and with its star pairing of Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley, this is spectacularly staged, fabulous fun - decadent, delightful and absorbing.

Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail: The other big star here though is Tom Scutt's astonishing makeover of the Playhouse Theatre: Transforming the West End venue into a very swanky speakeasy. Scutt's refurb goes right down into the woodwork, with seats in the stalls fitted with ledges for all important 'refreshments'. That also means more leg room... it's like travelling business class, danke schon!

To read more reviews and to share your own, click here!


Photos: First Look at Jake Shears and Rebecca Lucy Taylor in CABARET Photo
Photos: First Look at Jake Shears and Rebecca Lucy Taylor in CABARET

All new photos have been released of Jake Shears as The Emcee and Rebecca Lucy Taylor AKA Self Esteem as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Check out the photos here!

Photos: See New Images of Apatow & Park in CABARET Photo
Photos: See New Images of Apatow & Park in CABARET

See new photos of Maude Apatow and Mason Alexander Park in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club!

Video: First Look at Maude Apatow and Mason Alexander Park in CABARET Photo
Video: First Look at Maude Apatow and Mason Alexander Park in CABARET

All new footage has been released of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club starring Maude Apatow and Mason Alexander Park. Check out the video here!

Video: CABARET Celebrates John Kander and Joel Greys Lifetime Achievement Tony Awards Photo
Video: CABARET Celebrates John Kander and Joel Grey's Lifetime Achievement Tony Awards

An all new video has been released featuring the Emcees of London’s Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club celebrating John Kander and Joel Grey’s Tony Lifetime Achievement Awards!



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