Sunderland Empire, 28/01/2020
“Willkommen! And bienvenue! Welcome!” The revival of Cabaret from Kander and Ebb (Chicago, Curtains) with the book by Joe Masteroff (She Loves Me) is in the middle of it’s second UK tour, where we were invited to see it at Sunderland Empire. Bill Kenwright’s production stars John Partridge (Chicago, La Cage Aux Follies) as Emcee, Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla The Musical) as Sally Bowles and Anita Harris (Stepping Out, Cats) as Fraulein Schnider. In 1930, American novelist Cliff Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) arrives in Berlin and spends his first night at the Kit Kat Club where he meets the infamous Sally Bowles (Hayworth) as she takes to the stage. Their acquaintance grows amidst the birth of the Nazi party as politics begins to reveal the cracks in relationships of the residents of Berlin.
We absolutely loved the show and felt it was totally entertaining and really dramatic too. This UK tour is not to be missed! Read on for our five reasons to see Cabaret!
1. John Partridge as Emcee
Although he’s known in the television world for his work on Eastenders, John Partridge’s musical theatre career is renown with extensive credits. We saw Partridge perform in Chicago a few years ago and didn’t think much of it – here we were blown away. He completely epitomises the role of Emcee, constantly keeping the audience and characters in the palm of his hand whilst creating such a stage presence too. His prowess allows his performance to be confident, funny and lustrous; we are wishing we had seen him in some other roles before now as he is an absolute delight to watch in this show.
2. The choreography is excellent
The scenes set at the Kit Kat Club really highlight the talent of the cast as their movements are slick and precise. The show begins with “Willkommen” where we see the cast perform such acrobatic stunts as they throw and catch one another throughout. The choreography in this show created by Javier De Frutos (for which he has won an Olivier Award for) is completely captivating and you feel like you cannot take your eyes off it. Another standout part of this is in “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” as the rise of the Nazi party is depicted dramatically with puppet strings attached to the cast; Emcee (Partridge) at the controls, as he has been throughout act 1.
3. The humour is great
We didn’t expect a show like this to be as funny as it was! Packed with punchlines and comedic scenes led by Emcee (Partridge), Cabaret is really funny. A stand out hilarious number is “Two Ladies”, as Emcee makes love in bed with two companions there’s a few unexpected guests involved too. Other small gags such as Emcee’s cane rapidly reducing in size through the show are well received.
4. It’s so stylish!
From beautifully designed costumes for the club dancers to the wonderfully simple-yet-effective set design, this show really is a work of art. The classic “KABARET” letters appear all lit up during Kit Kat Club scenes, illuminating the auditorium and a set of wheeled steps are used to enhance the already brilliant choreography but with such simple style. In regards to the club performer’s costumes, you can’t help but feel envious of how the leather pants, suspenders and braces all make the cast look. The style of Cabaret is all down to Olivier and Tony Award winning (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) costume and set designer Katrina Lindsay, who has captured the feel of the show perfectly with it’s design.
5. It has such a powerful feel to it
Set amidst the rise of the Nazi party in Berlin, this show is going to have it’s gritty moments. Most of this comes in act 2 after having the first half for the fun numbers and character development. The treatment of Jews and homosexuals portrayed here gives a real sense of shame about the human race and how something so horrific could’ve ever happened. The drama of the second act builds and ends the show on such poignancy after a wonderful rendition of “Cabaret” by Kara Lily Hayworth as Sally Bowles. It’s worth noting that the singing voices of the entire cast are excellent and really add to the pathos of the show at the right moments.
Cabaret UK tour is visiting the following venues:
*please note this show does contain nudity and upsetting scenes – not suitable for under 14s
28 January – 1 February: SUNDERLAND Empire Theatre, tickets available here!
4 – 8 February: OXFORD New Theatre, tickets available here!
18 – 22 February: WIMBLEDON New Wimbledon Theatre, tickets available here!
25 – 29 February: MANCHESTER Palace Theatre, tickets available here!
3 – 7 March: LEEDS Grand Theatre, tickets available here!
10 – 14 March: CANTERBURY Marlowe Theatre, tickets available here!
17 – 21 March: SHEFFIELD Lyceum Theatre, tickets available here!
24 – 28 March: WALES Millennium Center, tickets available here!
31 March – 4 April: STOKE Regent Theatre, tickets available here!
7 – 11 April: INVERNESS Eden Court Theatre, tickets available here!
14 – 18 April: LIVERPOOL Empire Theatre, tickets available here!
21 – 25 April: MILTON KEYNES Milton Keynes Theatre, tickets available here!