Cabaret ★★★★★ Playhouse Theatre | Nov 15, 2021 - Oct 1, 2022


Your experience of this Cabaret begins from the moment you enter the theatre. Admission to the Kit Kat Club is via an underground passage which leads to bars that promise all the diversions and decadence of pre-war Berlin. The redolent atmosphere established foreshadows a very special evening. This might be an edgier, darker Cabaret than you remember. Eddie Redmayne's Emcee is a fascinating grotesque whose presence is quite hypnotic. The bravura performance dominates the production and his ironic promise that "in here, life is beautiful" resonates throughout the evening. His rendition of "Money" has an unforgettably chilling cynicism. This Sally Bowles, as played by Jessie Buckley is also a far cry from the perky party girl that we might be accustomed to. She exudes an alluring energy but there is a dark core explored in her stunning performance of the poignant "Maybe This Time" and the rather desperate "Cabaret." Omari Douglas as Clifford Bradshaw does a fine job of balancing Sally's brash worldliness with his naïveté. His youthful idealism also perfectly offsets Liza Sadovy as Fraulein Schneider's plaintive and embittered "What Would You Do." The latter is quite brilliant as she forces us to face the dark questions of political engagement and the fragility of the cabaret world. The charming playfulness of her duet "It Couldn't Please Me More" sung with Elliot Levey, Herr Schultz, stands in stark contrast to both the world of the cabaret and the impending horrors pre-figured by the faux purity of the chilling "Tomorrow Belongs To Me." Rebecca Frecknall has created a production of the classic musical we all think we know. This Cabaret is wonderfully original and resonates brilliantly with so much contemporary experience.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Marc Brenner.

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