Reviewed by Claire Giles
As a Cabaret novice never having seen the film, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What was delivered was a dark, gritty production that kept you thinking long after leaving the theatre.
We watched the show at The Grand Theatre & Opera House in Leeds. The Grand is based in Leeds City Centre so easily accessible by car or public transport. There is plenty of payable car parking nearby. The staff were all very friendly and helpful.
Set in Berlin, Germany in 1931 we are introduced to the Kit Kat club full of “beautiful girls and beautiful boys”. Where the atmosphere is free living and free loving. John Partridge best known for his role in EastEnders oversees all the action as The Emcee. The Emcee commands the audience’s attention whenever he is on stage with his fully made up face, kooky outfits, wacky faces, dark humour and lewd behaviour. John’s singing voice is generally amazing but unfortunately some of the song lyrics were hard to make out with his German accent.
Aspiring novelist American Cliff Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) arrives in Berlin on New Year’s Eve and is invited to the Kit Kat Club. There he meets brash Sally Bowles (Kara Lily Hayworth) the lead cabaret singer who after getting fired from the club forces her way into his life and lodgings. We then follow their developing relationship as Cliff is introduced into the seedier party lifestyle of Berlin.
The doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fraulein Schneider (Anita Harris) and Jewish fruit seller Herr Schultz (James Paterson) due to the Nazi uprising is rather poignant. Anita Harris performance of ‘What Would You Do’ is highly emotional.
It was almost like watching two productions at times. Switching from the dark lodgings and love stories to the bright vibrant lights of the Kit Kat Club with its seedy undertones. All this is shadowed by the Nazi uprising and how this will affect all involved.
All the well-known iconic songs were included ‘Cabaret’, ‘The Money Song’ and an outstanding performance of ‘Maybe This Time’ by Kara Lily Hayworth. John Partridge’s performance of ‘If You Could See Her’ was unsettling funny yet upsetting at the same time. The amazing choreography was the real highlight of the show which was more gymnastics than dance at times.
This definitely was not a show for children. It was highly sexualised from the beginning with nudity, skimpy but fabulous costumes and plenty of lewd behaviour. My fifteen-year-old daughter attended with me and found it all slightly confusing.
The end scene was moving and raw and betrayed the true nature of what’s to become.
Tickets cost from £24 (booking fees may apply).
Cabaret is at the Grand Theatre in Leeds from 3-7 March 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.leedsgrandtheatre.com or call the box office on 0844 848 2700.
Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, 46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NZ | 0844 848 2700