Chilling - saw this production yesterday having seen Cabaret many times i thought i'd seen it all. I was wrong. This innovative and imaginative staging of this classic musical sheds new light, or perhaps new darkness, on what i thought the narrative was about. Yes it'a about the glitz, glamour and seediness of the 1930's pre war Berlin cabaret scene, yes it's about great show stopping songs and raunchy racey dancing, and yes it's about the rise and fear of fascism. But what i realised, for the first time, that it is really about is the Denial - the kit kat club's smokey insular atomosphere combined with the singluar selfishness and sadness of Sally Bowles, is the perfect metaphor for the denial of the horror of nazism that many 'ordinary' Berliners faced in the run up to the war. The staging, spine chilling songs and the menacing Emcee have radicalised both the show and indeed the Cabaret. I can't believe it's closing - what has one to do to keep a show on in the West end today? - Jennifer L Bostock
19 Jun 08
I saw Cabaret last night for the 8th time and having seen three different cast changes, lat nights performance was simply WOW!!!. The atmosphere was electric, all sections of the theatre incl the upper circle was about 90% full. ALL the cast members gave 110% and they have even changed Alistairs role from about two weeks ago. He now spends nearly 5 minutes joking with the audience and even getting a member of the public to stand and apologise to him for not believing that he had undertaken a particular dance number - the audience were loving every minute of it. Its credit to the professsionalisim of all the cast members that they were putting there all into the show, in view of the fact that they were apparently told in between performance on June 4 that they are all out of work from the 21st!
The audiance gave the cast a very well deserved standing ovation last night and it's a great shame in view of some other west end productions that this one is closing well before time!
BILL KENWRIGHT if you saw last nights perfomance and the reaction from the public, you would of NOT pulled the plug. - Scott
19 Jun 08
Alistair McGowan - what a find. He has a magnificent voice and really gets into the character. He is a truly superb lead and I am gutted the show is closing so soon! (He was also lovely at the stage door!) Amy Nutall is also a very good Sally Bowles, infact the entire cast is just great. It is such a shame this wonderful production isn't pulling in the audience numbers. A truly great night of theatre. - AA
08 Jun 08
Seen on Mon 11th May 08. This is my third time of seeing this and have seen each cast change I think! Had stalls seats. This is BY FAR THE BEST it has ever been. James Dreyfus and Julian Clarey were Ok but Alistaire McGowen is superb. He actually ACTS the part instead of unprofessional adlibs. Has a good voice too. Really excellent lead. Sally Bowls lead also superb. The warmth from the two older leads was just great. As usual the dancers threw everything into their performance. I really wanted to stand up to give an ovation for such excellence but everyone was still seated!
I had the unfortunate task of seeing Never Forget the next night and that got an ovation. I couldn't help thinking it should have been the other way around. Such trash as Never Forget gets audiences to get to their feet and yet superb performances from this cast doesn't - something is wrong somewhere!
If any of the cast or production read this. THANKYOU for an excellent night of theatre. - Dave Woolrich
14 May 08
It's difficult to single out performances here as they were all spot on. Some people, on another site, criticised Julian for not acting but I found that his understated performance made the last minute of the play all the more poignent. Amy was as good as ever, she's a soprano by nature and training but still belted out the "loud" numbers. But the note of wistfulness in her voice at start of "Maybe This Time" conveyed Sally's sense of despair to the core. - Ray
09 Mar 08
I caught this a couple of weeks ago and thought the cast were excellent. Angela Richards superb and it was great to see Barry James in a sympathetic role which he handled with aplomb. Amy Nuttall managed to convey Sally's foolishness and hopelessness whilst still giving the audience pleny of bang for their buck, whilst Steven Cree got a good handle on all of Cliff's ambiguity, determination and frustration. Valerie Cutko was a charismatic and enigmatic Fraulein Kost. They are all let down by the low-budget and abstract physical production which seems to detract from the actors rather than complement them. - Scripps
17 Feb 08
saw this 0n the 26th and enjoyed it immensley.i was certainley not disappointed in julian clary even though his singing was not remarkable. we were lucky enonough to speak with him later and he was really nice and very friendly. thought the whole cast was excellant noteably amy nuttall and barry james. - cath
01 Feb 08
Have now seen it twice both with Julian Clary, the part of emcee is definitely his also the rest of the main cast brilliant. The boys and girls of the chorus were really good. Very poignant.Highly recommended. - gina
12 Dec 07
Loved it - wonderfully lewd and dark. The exact opposite of drivel like Grease or We Will Rock You. - David Gower
11 Dec 07
i went to see it last march so it wasn't the same sally bowls (thank god!!!!).
This show is really good because original, the cast does a great job but the poor sally bowles is forgotten. I was almost more interested by the other characters.This is a dark version of cabaret and that's why it's so interesting. The second world war and the diferent themes about sexuality are the main contexts of the story. Really good show, thank god they have changed anna maxwell martin. She's maybe an actress but she's not a performer!!!! - morgan
24 Oct 07
Evening 24th July. Having read previous comments I really think this cast has needed time to gel as I thought Honor and Francis were both excellent in the roles of the doomed elderly lonely couple caught in the politics of an age they could not identify with. All the cast were simply superb but special mention for James who I saw in the Producers and loved him then - this role is absolutely his and it doesn't matter that he's not the best singer in the world - he simply relishes the role and totally entertains while scaring me silly at the same time! Kim was excellent and was much better than I expected. That she is constantly mentioned as an improvement on the previous actor is a credit to her and I'm pleased I waited for this cast change to see the show. I also didn't know whether to applaud or cry at the end - so I did both, heartily. Very powerful. Long may it run. - Avril
25 Jul 07
21/07 Evening - I thought the whole show was very good and hit the mark in what it was trying to portray. Kim Medcalf was excellent was worried about her singing Maybe This Time but she was spot on. We discussed Honor Blackman during the interval and expressed our disappointment that she seemed to be going 'through the motions', however when in the 2nd half, it became apparent that her character was almost tired with life and just adapted to whoever was in power at the time it all made perfect sense. James Dreyfus played the Emmcee perfectly - a kind of inevitably to what would happen and just accepting his fate without trying to change. All in all a great evening - and a very powerful ending - not sure whether to applaud or cry! - Steve
23 Jul 07
Having seen this show with the original cast members earlier in the year I feel able to offer a balanced view. I saw this production on 12th July 07 stall seat, eve. The biggest disappointed was that Sheila Hancock wasn't performing. Honour Blackman is a poor replacement and instead of singing "So What" talked her way through it??? Although OK she didn't bring the character to life and just keeps smiling all the time. Although James Dreyfus is good, I found the humour he was attempting to introduce unprofessional and out of context with the story, not when the humour is in the script, that's fine, it was the ad libs that spoilt it for me. Also at this performance Jack Jefferson (key dancer) was not present and the performance was less for his absense. The guy in his place didn't have the drive of his counterpart. BUT the big improvement is Kim Metcalf. WOW what a difference from the APPALLING Anna Maxwell Martin. Mr. (watered down cheap buget musicals) Bill Kenwright apparently thinks people can star in West End musicals if they can't sing, well I can tell him that this ain't the case for me. I want to see top end acting AND SINGING for my hard earned cash and Anna Maxwell Martin should never have been given the part. Kim is absolutely superb with the acting and VOICE to match. James Dreyfus can't sing either and I'm sure they could have found someone with a voice too, but he gets by in this production. Go and see Lord of The Rings for class one voices and acting. Awesome.So, to conclude, this is a good show for Kenwright's standards but nothing to blow you away. Don't buy the cast CD with Anna Maxwell Martin, wait for a re-release with Kim Metcalf as it sounds like a school amateur production! - Dave Woolrich
23 Jul 07
What a great performance from James Dreyfus who really is the star of this production. A must see musical. - Ivor
18 Jul 07
Although it has lost the wonderful Sheila Hancock and Geoffrey Hutchings as the doomed ageing lovers (Honor Blackman and Francis Matthews are sweet, touching replacements but lack the charm and heartbreak of their predecessors), I still think this remarkable, poisonous, thrilling new vision of Kander&Ebb's masterpiece has got better as the run has gone on. Rufus Norris' dark, dynamic staging has a confidence and power now that it lacked originally. Partly this is because James Dreyfus' Emcee has evolved into a truly menacing, ambiguous presence...a terrific performance. Even more though it is because, finally, in Kim Medcalf has it got the Sally Bowles it really needs and deserves: this is a blazingly impressive reading of the role. Her singing is wonderful (such a shame she isn't on the cast album) but also her characterisation of this troubled and troubling character is just spot-on: she is adorable and repellent simultaneously, with a magnetic stage presence and gorgeous physicality. Her emotionally overwrought, drug-addled rendering of the title song gave me goose bumps...both dramatically and musically true. Worth going again just to see her. - ajh
19 May 07
Second visit just to see Kim Metcalf was for Kim's performance well worth it. A great shame Kim did not open the show as she is one hell of a Sally Bowles. Unlike AMM her numbers actually ended to cheers - especially the title song as she clearly surpassed herself with a very exciting and effective delivery. Where the musical fails second time around is the casting of Honor Blackman. Sadly Honor fails to make the role work. Though she looks elegant, the years are obvious and the accent well her attempt at sounding German was almost laughable as she clearly sounded more suited to the role of Mrs Higgins in MFL. I really did not believe in the charactor the way I did with Sheila Hancock and sadly those wonderful songs were all but thrown away. - Owen
01 May 07
This production was ok. But I agree with people who say it was overly complicated at times. It seems to be pushing a very strong point but neither the audience nor the cast members seemed to know exactly what that point was. Some bits were fun, but it could have been a little more lighthearted...actually i'm not sure lighthearted is the word it just needed more energy, it seemed to get bogged down at times. I think the musical does have a strong point to make in terms of politics etc but at the same time this doesnt mean it should loose its sense of fun. I believed the story of the older couple (Sheila Hancock and Geoffrey Hutchings) 100% more than I did the two younger leads. Hancock and Hutchings had both comedy and tragedy in thier performances, and more than anything they *trusted* their performances - they didnt need to overly shove it in your face to make you believe in it! - Kate
08 Mar 07
The Performance, have improved greatly since it has opened back in October. I have now seen it for the 3rd time, and found some of the scenes more emotional. with Sheila Hancock's This is my world speech beganning a high light. James Dreyfus made us all laugh and Anna Maxwell Martin has improved greatly. However Sheila Hancock's performance is still outstanding. I am so glad she got The Olivier for best supporting role in a musical. It was spot on for me. I greatly enjoyed it more this time around than I did the first two times. - Leila
06 Mar 07
There's plenty of sleaze in this staging of Cabaret but it's very cold and frankly The Sound of Music does a better job of portraying the fear caused by the rise of the Nazis. Anna Maxwell Martin is good at conveying the desperation and vulnerability of Sally Bowles and reminded me more of Judi Dench than Liza Minelli (that's a good thing). Some of the supporting performances were barely adequate (James Dreyfus was off) so thank God for Geoffrey Hutchings and, especially, Sheila Hancock who provide the emotional heart of this suprisingly sterile show. David Baxter (7.2.07) - David Baxter
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