Cabaret is not the happy feel good show it may first appear; it had a dark undercurrent. There is of course all the debauchery and decadence of 1930’s Berlin, but Berlin in the 1930’s was a whisper away from its darkest history. The first half of the show lives in ignorance – its enjoying its cabaret lifestyle where everyone is wellkomen.
Will Young plays Emcee and opens the show, welcoming us to Kabaret. This role is the perfect role for Will and it shows. He embraces every aspect and his timing, acting abilities as well as his voice all add to his incredible performance. Emcee wears leather hot pants, singing and dancing around some very muscly men and scantily dressed women. Who wouldn’t want this role?
Cabaret tells the story of 1930’s Berlin and an American struggling writer, Clifford Bradshaw is on his first visit to Berlin, not knowing quite what to expect. A chance meeting at the border control with Herr Ludwig helps him with accommodation and pupils for Clifford to teach English to. This introduces Clifford to the Kit Kat club, a club where anything goes. He bumps into an old boyfriend and is invited backstage. There he briefly meets Sally Bowles, an English girl who is the star of the club. She is grateful to hear someone speak English even if it is only American. She turns up at his house the following day and moves herself into his room without him really being able to say no. Soon, his lifestyle is full of parties and sexual encounters.
Sally Bowles is a whirlwind of fun; she believes her own hype and can flirt with anyone to get where she wants to be (including the head of the show at the club). She is a real firecracker, full of life and always the centre of attention. Louise Redknapp plays Sally and Louise gives it her all, she can sing (remember Eternal?) she can act and she looks the part. Sadly, Louise doesn’t flirt nearly enough, everyone should want her including the audience, which are almost ignored. She needs to be far more raunchy and outrageous than she comes across. This is a shame as Louise is the girl next door no matter how hard she tries. Her starring moment is singing Cabaret at which we get a glimpse of her true abilities if she immersed herself into the role. Clifford starts to realise it’s not just one big party and sees the seedier lifestyle of what he has been doing. Clifford is played by Charlies Hagerty and has a lovely voice as well as being very authentic in the role.
There are some amazing songs with some brilliant choreography. Two Ladies is set in a huge bed and is extremely funny. Money is also done brilliantly. Everything Will Young touches is golden in this show. I can finally forgive Will Young for leaving me out of pocket when he was due to play Milton Keynes over a decade ago but never did and the promotor went into administration. His performance in this show is worth the ticket price plus my £70 on top. Well done Will.
The whole cast are exemplary in the show and it feels very cohesive. There is some nudity which was a bit unexpected but especially the last scene, tastefully shocking.
This show has an unexpected darker side but this makes it different from other shows and is one to see. Production is high and the numbers are all done extremely well. It’s almost sold out at Milton Keynes Theatre, so don’t hesitate – grab a ticket while you can.