Last night I nipped into Manchester to watch the theatre classic Cabaret and wow what a beautiful but tough watch it was!
When I review a show I haven’t seen before I like to go in blind, which is risky at times. Last night it took me a while to work out exactly what was going on. Indeed to fathom exactly what Cabaret was all about. And then it hit me, almost like a brick.
What Is Cabaret About?
It’s shocking how a story can change in a heartbeat. Thus transitioning you from smiling to feeling physically sick as you know what’s to come. All culminating in heartbreak as the horror unfolds in-front of your eyes.
Cabaret is the remastering of the 1966 musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff. Based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play ‘I Am a Camera’.
Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, Cabaret shares the story of the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub. Focused on American writer Cliff Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles (Kara Lily Hayworth). But also works outwards to link in the Kit Kat Club and the guest house where Cliff lives.
Life in Berlin is good, its exciting. The Kit Kat Club overseen by Master Of Ceremonies Emcee ( John Partridge) is indulgent, raunchy, and offers a sexual freedom all its regulars thrive on.
Love blooms as Sally finds herself homeless and presents herself to Cliff. He is struggling with his sexuality, but also mesmerised by Sally. Simultaneously Cliff’s landlady Fraulein Schneider finds herself falling for Jewish trader and gentleman Herr Schultz.
Things Takes A Turn As The Nazi’s Rise In Power.
Watching events unfold is truly horrific, observing the change in characters as allegiances start to form. The changes are initially subtle as lines are drawn and people revel in excitement to be part of something new. Then becomes the dawning that all is not well with this new party as the ugliness against the Jews starts to become palpable. Some choosing to ignore the situation and hope it dies down.
I have never seen an audience so silent, there were more than a handful of moments where you could hear a pin drop. And also, feel the shock and fear in the audience. Which all builds up the the most heartbreaking conclusion.
There was no singing and dancing finale, it just isn’t fitting to such an horrific silent ending. Yet the whole audience were instantly on their feet in rapturous emotional applause.
Cabaret Is A Story That Must Be Told
It’s an uncomfortable story, there’s no way of dressing that up. Cabaret tracks humanity at its very worst. And watching as a spectator, as history slowly tells its worst it hard. We know these atrocities happened, learn’t about it in history and commemorate every year. Yet having physical characters you can relate to somehow made it feel more real.
Being an observer was gruelling, at times I felt sick. However the cast did the story absolute justice, telling a difficult story magnificently, thus giving history the respect it deserved.
Cabaret is a truly breathtaking work of art. With stunning voices, perfectly timed choreography and butts that make you want to run the gym.
Playing those character must be mentally exhausting. It’s a show I will never forget for so many reasons. No matter how uncomfortable, this is part of our history that should never be brushed under the carpet and forgotten.
Cabaret is at the Palace Theatre Manchester until the 29th February and continues its national tour until April.
I was gifted the tickets in return for an honest review and I can’t get this one out of my mind.
To see what else is coming up at The Palace And Opera House In Manchester Click HERE.