Life is a Cabaret at the National TheatreDate: 28 February 2000
Life is a Cabaret at the National Theatre German-style cabaret, with songs, sketches and satire, is coming to the National Theatre courtesy of Olivier award-winner Henry Goodman.
Metropolis Kabarett in the Terrace Cafe on Friday and Saturday nights from March 17 is described by Goodman, who won Best Actor for his performance as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, as 'bold, accessible, funny, biting, an experiment.'
Goodman is well known as one of Britain's most versatile actors, as happy playing Shylock as he is doing song and dance in Chicago.
What's less well known is that he used to run his own theatre (in South Africa) and won awards for directing.
'When I joined Trevor Nunn's ensemble a year ago, I told him I'd like to direct if an opportunity came along. He said he wanted to extend the whole feel of the National, and one way to do that is by revitalising the Terrace Cafe space.
'My idea is that it is an environment you can share with the actors where you are enticed and entertained at the same time. What binds it all together is an insight into the price we all pay for living in a metroplis.'
The evening begins at 10pm with a meal and live jazz accompaniment - with the cast singing or mingling with the audience - then they go into the structured entertainment, with songs, sketches and poems, plus a special guest performer from a West End show.
'I'm wary of using the term revue because it suggests something lightweight with lots of laughs,' says Goodman, 'Yes, there are laughs but there is also social comment and satire... it has aspirations to be something more than revue though we are definitely not espousing any political extreme.'
Goodman has commissioned writers such as John Mortimer, Carol Ann Duffy, Irma Kurtz, Meera Syal, and Arthur Smith to contribute pieces, and has himself adapted various songs with topical lyrics.